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Toronto^ The Macinillan Co. of Canada. 

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1 545-1 654 


REV. H. M. B. REID, D.D. 






they could be got. Unfortunately, portraits are not 
in every case available. 

The author hopes that the present volume and the 
entire undertaking may be interesting to Glasgow 
University men, and especially to those who have 
passed through our Divinity Hall. 

Glasgow University, 
April, 1917. 



I. Andrew Melville, i 545-1 622 

I. Preparation - i 

II. Glasgow - 26 

III. St. Andrews 

IV. Sedan - 

Works 80 

Bibliography - 82 



II. Thomas Smeaton, 1536-1583 - "83 


Bibliography 105 

III. Patrick Sharp, 1550-1615 106 

Works - 114 

IV. Robert Boyd, i 578-1627 

I. Preparation - 115 

II. Montauban - - 11 8 

III. Verteuil - - - 125 

IV. Saumur . . _ 128 




V. Glasgow - - - - - 37 

VI. Edinburgh - - - - 54 

VII. Paisley ,„ 

Works - 

Bibliography - 

1 68 

V. John Cameron, i 579-1625 

I. Preparation ^7° 

II. Bordeaux ^7^ 
III. Saumur 200 

IV. Glasgow ^'^ 

V. France (Montauban) 225 

Works 248 

Bibliography 250 

VI. John Strang, i 584-1654 

I. Preparation 252 

II. Errol 254 

III. Glasgow " 202 

IV. The Last Years - - 295 

Works - - 301 

Bibliography 3°' 

Index - 3°3 


ANDREW MELVILLE (1545- 1622) 

L Preparation (i 545-1 574) 

Andrew Melville may be reckoned the Second 
Founder of the University of Glasgow, although his 
short residence there makes him almost a bird of 
passage. It was the good fortune of Glasgow, how- 
ever, to attract him first, before he passed to the 
metropolis of Scotland (as it was then counted), and 
became the head of St. Mary's College, St. Andrews. 
In what follows, the main interest must of course 
be his Glasgow epoch, from November, 1574, to 
November, 1580, six years of eventful academic life. 
Born on August i, 1545, at Baldovy, near 
Montrose, Andrew Melville was of a family not 
without honour in Scottish history. The name was 
originally Maleville, and became Melvin by an easy 
contraction of the Latinised form Melvillanus (Scotice 
Melviln= Melvin). He himself never spells it other- 
wise than Melvin, or Melvill, except in his matricula- 
tion signature, where it is Mailuile. He was no 
more consistent in spelling, however, than his 
contemporaries. His sense of ancestry was neverthe- 
less keen, as it was with most Scotsmen of his day. 
Patrick Forbes of Corse remembers, a quarter of a 


century after Melville's death, how he even traced 
his pedigree to John of Gaunt, and thus claimed kin 
with the royal families of France, England, and 
Scotland. Something of pride of birth may be 
traced in his undaunted bearing on several notable 
occasions, when dealing with unruly students of good 
family. And it may possibly account for his quick 
assumption of equality with the highest in the land, 
if not for his stern advocacy of the rights of pres- 
byters. Presbytery as a polity is not entirely 
democratic. And Calvinism, which is the theological 
obverse of Presbytery, has lately been described as 
even being aristocratic. 

Melville came of valiant parentage, his father, 
Richard Melville, laird of Baldovy, having fallen at 
Pinkie in the company of the chief lairds of Angus 
and Mearns. The eldest son, Richard, became 
minister of Maryton in 1560. Two others also 
became parish ministers. They bore the apostolic 
names of James and John. James was minister of 
Arbroath, and is mentioned in the Commissariat 
Register of St. Andrews as " the richt worshipful 
Mr. James Melvill, minister of Aberbrothock " — a 
style which may suggest new possibilities to those 
who are tired of Reverend, Very Reverend, or Right 
Reverend. John is described in the St. Andrews 
Kirk-Session Register as " Johanne Malwyll, minister 
of Crystis Kirk in Crayel." It is said there were 
fifteen children of Richard Melville, the sire of 
Andrew ; Andrew was the ninth son, and he claims, 
in a letter written in 1612, to have survived his 
" fourteen brothers." ^ 

^See Melville's letter in 1612, quoted on p. 7^. 

PREPARATION (i 545-1 574) 3 

Of such a vigorous stock, and born of a Scots 
landed family, Andrew Melville was brought up in 
the old home at Baldovy, where his fatherless state 
and apparently delicate health gained for him the 
special care of his eldest brother and of the notable 
wife whom that brother had married. The uncertain 
health of the boy suggested that he should be dedi- 
cated to a scholarly lire, for which also he showed a 
distinct liking. He was therefore sent to the Mon- 
trose Grammar School a mile off, and there got his 
first grounding in Latin, the universal language of 
scholars then. James Melville, the nephew, who 
resembled his uncle in appearance and character, and 
was only eleven years younger, has left an account of 
the grammar-school system at Logic and at Montrose 
in his day. The Rudiments of the Latin Grammar, 
with the vocables in Latin and French, also divers 
speeches in French, with the right pronunciation : 
the Etymology of Lilius and his Syntax, also a little 
of the Syntax of Linacre, Hunter's Nomenclatura, 
Erasmus' Colloquia Minora: some of Virgil's 
Eclogues and of Horace's Epistles : Cicero's Epistles 
ad Terentiam ; such was the field covered at Logic, 
two miles from Montrose. In Montrose itself, the 
field was more limited ; Rudiments again, the first 
part of Sebastian's Grammar, Terence's Phormio, 
Latin Prose, Virgil's Georgics. In both schools 
athletics were not pretermitted. The master at Logic 
taught his boys " to handle the bow for archerie, the 
glub for goff, the batons for fencing,^ also to rin, to 
leepe, to swoum, to warsell, to prove pratteiks, everie 
ane haiiBng his matche and antagonist, bathe in our 
1 On baton, see Life of Cameron, p. 231. 


lessons and play. A happie and golden tyme in- 
deed ! . . ." ^ Much attention was also paid to 
singing and playing on instruments. James Melville 
notes that a blind man " with a singular guid voice " 
taught the boys the psalm-tunes. Three languages 
were taught in such schools, Scots, Latin, and French, 
as appears from the license granted to William 
Niddrie in 1559 under the Privy Seal. The list of 
Niddrie's school-books includes an elementary intro- 
duction to the Scots tongue, an Orthoepia Trilinguis, 
a Trilinguis Literaturae Syntax, and a Trilinguis 
Grammaticae Quaestiones. Particular attention was 
paid to French. Niddrie's list has " An A B C for 
Scottis men to reid the French toung, with ane exhor- 
tatioun to ye nobilis of Scotland to favour yair aid 
friendis."^ Such facts explain the ease with which 
Scottish students passed into French universities and 
played their part in French life, as we know Andrew 
Melville did. 

Religion had its place in the school curriculum. 
The masters were frequently men bred for the 
Church. At Montrose the boys were taught by 
" Mr. Andro Miln minister at Sedness." They 
learned by heart " the catechism and prayers." They 
learned the whole psalms. They had to read the 
Bible, and received notes or comments on it. And 
Andrew Melville from his tenth year had the special 
advantage of learning to read Greek, and with it the 

1 Melville's Diary, pp. 15, 16. " Prove pratticks " is to perform 
ploits ; see Jamieson's Dictionary, sub voce. 

e the passage from the Register of the Privy Seal of Scotland, 
26> '559» quoted in M'Crie's Life of Andrew Melville, 

O, to chart, i. 


2 See 


Note C. to chap, 

PREPARATION (i 545-1 574) 5 

Greek Testament, from a French Huguenot, Pierre de 
Marsiliers, a refugee from his country and a man of 
high character. His eagerness to learn Greek delayed 
his entrance to the University, according to M'Crie ; 
but this is doubtful, since he actually entered the 
New College (St. Mary's), St. Andrews, at fourteen. 
Rashdall states the age of entrance to most of the 
mediaeval Universities to have been "between 
thirteen and sixteen." But in Paris a statute re- 
quired the " determining Bachelor " to be at least 
fourteen. And the " determining Bachelor " was 
simply an undergraduate entering on his examinations 
or disputations, for the purpose of graduating in due 
course as bachelor. Hence it would seem that in 
Paris, attendance did not count toward the degree 
until the boy was at least fourteen. ^ 

In the Novum Collegium Marianum, founded as 
recently as the year 1532, Melville matriculated in 
1559. The College had been established by Arch- 
bishop James Beaton on the foundation of the 
Paedagogium or Students' Residence, with a staff 
of two professors of Divinity, one of Canon Law 
and one of Civil Law (the utrumque jus of the 
curriculum), and with four regents in Philosophy 
(corresponding to our Arts Faculty). But in 1552 
Archbishop Hamilton, in his thoroughgoing attempt 
to reform the Scottish Church from within, obtained 
papal authority to vary and extend the establishment. 
Under this new arrangement there were a principal 
(called provost) and two other magtstri, who were all 
styled professors of Divinity : one professor of the 

1 See Rashdall's Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages, 
II. 604. 


sacred canons or pontifical law : eight sacerdotes or 
priests who were to take a six years' course in theo- 
logy: three regents in Philosophy, to teach logic, 
ethics, physics, mathematics, and other liberal arts : a 
professor of Rhetoric, and another of grammar ; with 
sixteen students of Philosophy (Arts).^ In all, the 
foundation included thirty-three persons, of whom 
seventeen were in a sense the teaching staff, since the 
eight students of theology were to be sacerdotes 
omnes, and to give public disputations or lectures on 
the Holy Scriptures every day during the session. 
Principal Lee condemns the scheme as insufficiently 
endowed and otherwise defective ; but he is in error 
in supposing that the eight priests or theological 
students did not teach. It is obvious that they did 
lecture daily in rotation, and that the sixteen Arts 
students would have access to these lectures. The 
scheme, if it was insufficiently endowed (a not un- 
common thing in academic schemes even yet), was 
at any rate a wise and far-seeing one, even from the 
modern standpoint of theological education. For it 
recognised that the student of theology ought to 
teach while he is learning : it anticipated the proposal 
which is now emerging that the probationer or 
licentiate (as he is called in the Scottish Reformed 
Churches) should continue his studies after he has 
received the Church's commission to preach : it pro- 
vided for instruction, so much needed, in public 
speaking and in grammar ; and it prescribed a 
sufficiently lengthy course in theology proper. The 
entire course of training for the ministry was to be 
nine years ; but the student entered, as we have seen, 

1 Principal Lee's Hist, of the Church of Scotland, I. 98 sqq. 

PREPARATION (i 545-1 574) 7 

as early as fourteen, and the priestly order could not 
be attained before he was twenty-five. 

There was one significant omission ; no professor 
of Civil Law was specified. This, however, was in 
exact accordance with the policy of the Church of 
Rome, which regarded Civil Law as essentially alien 
to the priest's studies, and Canonical 'Law as amply 
sufficient for the priest's discharge of the duties of 
his oflSce. Thus in the University of Paris, the 
teaching of Civil Law was actually at one time for- 
bidden by the authorities, both papal and civil. We 
often hear references made to Law as a faculty coming 
next in precedence to Theology and intimately con- 
nected with it. But the remark applies only to 
Canon Law. 

St. Mary's College when Melville entered was 
already much altered firom the days of Archbishop 
Hamilton. The Archbishop's ordinances had not 
had time to take root. It is probable that the 
teaching staff was reduced to three or four, of 
whom one was recognised as provost or principal 
regent (regens principalis, or praepositus, or pri- 
marius). The Principal at this date was John 
Douglas, who was yet to be Archbishop of St. 
Andrews, and who remained Principal and Rector 
till 1574. It may be noted that the regent was 
always a " master " (magister), though a " master " 
might not be a regent in all cases. The magister at 
the close of his philosophical or Arts course was, 
however, eligible as a regent, and, indeed, undertook 
at his laureation to teach, if required, for a fixed 
term of years, remaining unmarried during that 
period. The regent took his class right through their 


three or four years' course in Arts. Then followed 
the theological course, which was necessarily less 
defined, because it was most of all affected by the 
Reformation. Hamilton, as we have seen, projected 
a six years' course in theology, under a provost and 
two other professors of Divinity ; but this compara- 
tively abundant provision must have been sadly 
curtailed at first. Certainly, the^ "eight priests" 
disappeared, and it is more than probable that the 
chief work in theology devolved on the Principal, 
while two or three regents attended to the philo- 
sophical teaching. Such at least was the routine in 
Glasgow for a long time after the Reformation. In 
this respect, the Reformation indirectly dealt a blow 
at University endowments, as it did at the endow- 
ments for the Church. 

As to the substance of the theological teaching, 
naturally the Sentences of Peter Lombard ceased to 
be a text-book, and the Scriptures became the chief 
manual. Lectures were given on the " five parts " of 
Scripture, the legal, the historical, the sapiential, 
the prophetical, and the New Testament. The 
Apocrypha was allowed so far as concerned the 
books of Esdras, Tobias, Judith, and (at discretion) 
Maccabees ; but the last was not obligatory. 
Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, and Baruch were accepted, 
not without good ground. We may note, however, 
in passing that Edinburgh regarded those three books 
as doubtful, the Edinburgh MS. of the statutes 
shewing them bracketed. In the New Testament, 
Hebrews is recognised as Pauline, and that apostle 
is therefore credited with fourteen epistles. The 
student who had completed the prophetical section. 

PREPARATION (i 545-1 574) 9 

that is, finished his Old Testament course, was after 
examination admitted baccalaureus formatus in Theo- 
logy ; he who " got through " his New Testament 
course became baccalaureus confirmatus, a " confirmed 
bachelor." The celibate associations of the unre- 
formed time were slow in dying out.^ In Glasgow, 
long after, it was expressly provided that the wives 
of regents should not live in bounds. In 1635 the 
regent had to swear that he would resign if he 

Three degrees were open to the theological student, 
that of bachelor after a four years' course, that of 
licentiate as soon as the bachelor was thirty years old, 
and that of doctor when he assumed the birr e turn. 
It is obvious, however, that these were but stages in 
the progress to the full degree of Doctor in Theology, 
indicated by the letters S.T.D., or SS.T.D. 

There is no evidence that this elaborate scheme 
ever became effective, and certainly Andrew Melville 
at least never took any one of those theological 
degrees at St. Andrews. On the contrary, as soon 
as he had finished his Arts course at St. Mary's, and 
had presumably taken his bachelor and master degree, 
he left Scotland for France, and entered himself as a 
student in Arts of the University of Paris. He was 
then nineteen. It must be noted that, while James 
Melville declares his famous uncle " took his degrees," 
the register of St. Andrews' graduations does not 
contain his name either as bachelor or as magister. 
The truth is, that the St. Andrews colleges were in a 

1 See St. Andrews University Publications, No. VII. {Statuia 
Fac. Theol. . . . reformata, 1 560). 

2 See Mun'menta, III. 378, 379. 


state of confusion between 1 559 and 1564, the period 
of Melville's studies there. The theological course 
was nominal, and Melville's theology was learned 
chiefly at Geneva. 

In Paris, Melville at once attacked the study of 
oriental languages. It is noteworthy that his bent, 
like the general taste of his day, had always been 
toward languages, and he had already mastered Latin 
and Greek. French he knew like a native. But 
Hebrew and its allied dialects were beyond reach in 
Scotland then, and indeed for long afterwards. It is 
possible he may have had a certain knowledge of 
Italian, since he knew the Italian poet Bizzari, a 
refiigee from Roman persecution, and was the 
recipient of some flattering elegiacs from that poet 
about the time he became magtster. As regards 
German, it is doubtful if Melville knew much of 
that unattractive language, although as a Parisian 
student he belonged compulsorily to the natio of 
Germany or England. 

The Royal Trilingual College of the University 
of Paris was at this time the centre of keen interest, 
because of its special dedication to languages, as well 
as its reputation for enlightened methods of teaching. 
Erected in 1529 by Francis I. on the Louvain model, 
it offered the latest things in Latin, Greek, and 
Hebrew, and in many other subjects. The only 
exceptions were science and doctrinal theology. Here 
Melville found in the Greek chair a scholar whose 
Latinised surname (Turnebus) did not hide the fact 
that he was of Scots blood and allied to William 
TurnbuU, the founder of the Glasgow College. 
Mercier or Mercerus, and Quinquarboreus (Cinq 

PREPARATION (1545- 1574) 11 

Arbres) were colleagues in the Hebrew chair. But 
Melville's ardour as a linguist was soon diverted to 
philosophical theories, by his attendance on the 
lectures of Ramus, at the time in the full tide of his 
critique of Aristotle. Ramus introduced him to a 
new world, and left an indelible impression on his 
mind. If Geneva formed Melville as a theologian 
and ecclesiastic, it was Paris which moulded him as 
an educationist and professor. 

There can be no doubt that Ramus and his methods 
had the greatest influence on Melville in his academic 
administration. Whether the new philosophy exerted 
as powerful an influence on his mind seems uncertain. 
No doubt the independent attitude assumed in all the 
lectures of P. Ramus helped to develop Melville's 
innate love of liberty of thought. Fresh from the 
barren Aristotelian precepts on which his regent had 
nourished him at St. Mary's College, he must have 
revelled with the joy of youth in the keen criticisms 
of Aristotle which abounded in the new teaching. 
Ramus had set himself expressly to overthrow the 
superstitious reverence for the great saint of Scholasti- 
cism. There is nothing racier in academic literature 
than his discovery that Aristotle, though the highest 
authority on Logic, has nowhere defined Logic itself,^ 
or his savage assault on Aristotle's idea of God — 
*' God, says Aristotle, is an animal ; there are there- 
fore as many gods as there are planets ! God has no 
power ; he may not act or move save from all 
eternity! God is the first agent in the world, yet 
he has neither will nor knowledge! He thinks 
nought but Himself and ignores all beside. . . . 

iSee Waddington-Kastus, De P. Rami Vita, 1848, p. 1 10 sqq. 


He has neither love, nor benignity, nor charity! 
What," he asks, "is this atheistic doctrine of God 
but a sort of war of the giants against God ? " ' One 
can imagine the applause which would greet such 
daring attacks from lads of Melville's age. Ramus 
seemed to beckon them to a new era. They placed 
to his credit every dry weary hour spent in copying 
from dictation the precepts of Aristotle. Moreover, 
Ramus gave them a new notion of Philosophy itself 
as something which must be judged by its contribu- 
tion to life, and not as a mere weapon for self- 
advancement in the schools. In this respect, he was 
ahead of his age, and it may be to some extent ahead 
of our own, because academic men then (and now) 
often confounded learning with character. Their 
view was that learning is a mystery or secret of trade 
which, once gained, becomes in itself an end. The 
view of Ramus was that all the liberal arts ought to 
bear on life. Character therefore is more than learn- 
ing. The wise man ought to be good. But 
Melville's age in Scotland continued to act as if the 
wise man was ipso facto good. James, his king, was 
a conspicuous example. A more technically learned 
king never reigned, or one less virtuous. 

But perhaps Ramus shows his influence on Melville 
more distinctly in respect of the methods of Univer- 
sity teaching. He was a great academic reformer, as 
one can see in his Prooemium reformatae Parisiensis 
Academiae. He pounced upon the dull routine of 
college classes and brought into them the voice of 
the man in the street. Things had reached their 

iSee Waddington-Kastus, Ramus, Sa Fie, Ses Emts, et Sft 
Opinions, 1853, pp. 358, 9. 

PREPARATION (i 545-1 574) 13 

worst pass. The lecturers or regents read to their 
scholars (who sat or kneeled on the floor) curt in- 
digestible " dictates " prepared by them from the 
treatises of Aristotle on physics and metaphysics, on 
grammar and the globe. Some regents lazily en- 
trusted the reading of the " dictates " to one of the 
students. The same regent was expected to expound 
to his class the entire content of what was then called 
philosophy, including mathematics, physics, astro- 
nomy, ethics, metaphysics, and logic. One small 
youth not long graduated as magister must convey 
to others nearly as old the sum of the liberal arts! 
Ramus denounced this practice, and argued for special 
teachers for each great department. He denounced 
also the practice of mere dictation, which was neces- 
sarily slow, unintelligent, and tedious. According 
to his maxims, the lecturer was to read his lecture 
continua voce et perpetua raptione, not tractim or 
in a melancholy drawl. The scholaris was to listen 
and comprehend, not to labour in copying out his 
teacher's words with hand and pen, although the 
teacher might properly allow time for the recording 
of some notabilis sententia. We shall see how deep 
these principles entered into Melville's mind. It is 
nevertheless true that the Parisian students saluted 
the innovations with uproar, hissing, catcalls, and 
even stones.-^ To the present day, the system con- 
demned by Ramus has not wholly disappeared from 
Scottish class-rooms. In Melville's own University, 
St. Andrews, we find James Sharp, afterwards Arch- 
bishop, taking his scholars through the old three or 
four years' course of Aristotle as a regent in St. 
^ See Rashdall, Universities in the Middle Ages, I. 438 note. 


Leonard's College in the years from 1643 to 1646.^ 
In Glasgow the system survived up to a far later 

There is little indication that Melville intended 
the ministry of the Church. We cannot wonder at 
this, since the Reformation in Scotland was only in 
its early stages. But the reaction against Aristotle 
was a decided Reformation force. Although Ramus 
himself remained a critic and little more, he gave his 
hearers a bias against the whole Roman temper, and 
set them questing for a simpler and freer logic. It 
is not true, though it was a charge made against 
Ramus, that he drove them back to Plato and agnosti- 
cism. Rather he suggested, especially to the Scots 
mind, that practical and rational attitude toward life 
which marks the advance of the Scottish Church, 
and of which Melville became the leading exponent 
in his day. So far, however, theology had attracted 
Melville far less than languages and law. He could 
hear only occasional lectures on law at Paris, where 
the subject was practically interdicted. But his 
interest in law led him now to betake himself to the 
University of Poitiers, after some two years at Paris. 
The University of Poitiers had been founded in 
1 43 1, and had a Faculty of Law with four regents. 
Dr. M'Crie says that Melville " had no intention of 
practising law," but it is significant of his leanings 
at the time that he sought out the college where 
Civil Law was formally taught. Calvin in his day 
had studied law, and might have remained a lawyer 

iThe student's note-book may still be seen at St. Andrews, 
with Sharp's testimonial at the end, and one or two caricatures of 

PREPARATION (i 545-1 574) 15 

if the net of Geneva had not caught him fast. Mel- 
ville went the same way. He became a regent in 
the college of St. Marcean, where, says his nephew 
James, "he had the best lawyers, and studied sa 
mikle thairof as might serve for his purpose, quhilk 
was theologiewherto he was dedicat from his mother's 
wombe." ^ But three years of law seems rather an 
excessive preparation for theology, though of course 
it was the period required from a regent to complete 
his course of dictates. The nephew also refers to 
keen rivalry between St. Marcean and Pivareau, in 
the composition of Latin verses, and records the fact 
that Pivareau was beaten as long as Andrew Melville 
remained at St. Marcean. Pivareau appears as 
Puygareau, in the work of Fournier. ^ It was a theo- 
logical college. This suggests anew that Melville 
was not quite decided on a clerical career. 

Though Dr. M'Crie ascribes Melville's election as 
a regent to his fame having reached Poitiers, the 
facts do not necessarily lend support to that idea. 
The regents of the Poitiers Law Faculty were coopted 
by the Faculty itself after public competition in the 
usual mode of the time. In any case, he entered on 
his duties at an unlucky time. The war of the 
Huguenots was in its first stages, and reached Poitiers 
shortly after Melville began work there. In 1568 
the town was besieged by a Huguenot force under 
Admiral Coligny, the University was obliged to close 

1 Melville's Diary, Wod. Soc, p. 40. James Melville writes it 
Marcean, not Marceon, as in M'Crie. M. Paul Mellon spells it 
Marcieon {Revue Chret'tenne, 1907, p. 206). 

2 See Rashdall, ut supra, II. 193. The spelling of Marcean is 
probably also doubtful. 


its doors, and Melville became tutor in a local family. 
The episode of his pupil's death was evidently one 
to which Melville returned through life ; his nephew 
has recorded it with his usual life-like reality. One 
day during the siege his scholar was mortally wounded 
in the thigh by a shot from the camp which had 
penetrated the wall of his bedroom. He cried for 
his tutor, and when Melville hurried in, embraced 
him, saying in the Greek — SiSda-KoKe, top Spofiov fiov 
TereXijKa (" Master, I have finished my course ! "). 
"That bern," adds the diarist, "gaed never out of 
his hart ; but in teatching of me he often rememberit 
him with tender compassion of myself." ^ Another 
anecdote of this curious period excites somewhat 
different feelings. Melville, after his pupil's death, 
remained an inmate of the household of the father 
until the siege ended. The house was Catholic, and 
a corporal's guard was billeted in it. The corporal 
became suspicious of the young regent because of 
his devout habits. He watched him at his prayers, 
and " being a Papist and man of warr " (as the diarist 
puts it) challenged him " with a great aithe " as a 
Huguenot who might readily betray the town. At 
that moment, the alarm sounded, and the corporal 
declared he could not trust Melville in the place. 
Melville at once protested his " honesty " or loyalty, 
and his readiness to prove it. He hastily donned the 
nearest armoiir and, rushing to the stable, began to 
lead out the best horse. The unhappy corporal was 
convinced, and hastened to ask pardon ; and Melville 
consented to remain at home. " Giff it had com to 
the warst," says his admiring nephew, "he was 
^ Melville's Diary, p. 40. 

PREPARATION (i 545-1 574) 17 

resolved, being weill horst, to haiff gottin him to the 
camp of the Admirall." It is plain from this story 
that Melville had acquired some casuistry in his 
encounters with the Jesuits at Paris. It is perhaps 
unfair to apply a modern standard of ethics to his 

Poitiers was no place for peaceful study, and as 
soon as Coligny raised the siege, Melville fled, in 
the company of a French student, leaving behind all 
his books except a small Hebrew Bible in his belt. 
They travelled to Geneva on foot. They gathered 
company as they went, but while Melville on reaching 
an inn would hurry out to see the neighbourhood, his 
companions would " ly down like tyrid tyks." It is 
a vivid picture of the small, thin, but active youth, 
full of curiosity and high spirits. Arriving at the gates 
of Geneva, they were strictly questioned. Melville's 
comrade, who makes but a poor appearance in the 
story, whined out, "we are poor scholars." That 
must have annoyed Melville, for he knew St. 
Leonard's as the College of Poor Scholars, and being 
a St. Mary's College man, disliked the name. So he 
cried at once — "No, no! we are nocht puir! We 
haiff alsmikle as will pey for all we tak, sa lang as we 
tarie. We haiff letters from his acquentance to Mon- 
sieur di Beza ; let us deliver these, we crave nae 
fordar." They were taken accordingly to Beza, who 
soon recognised the mettle of Melville, and got him 
appointed as professor of Humanity (Latin) in the 
College de Geneve. In spite of Melville's boast at 
the guardroom, he and the Frenchman had only a 
crown between them. But the college paid him a 
quarter's salary in advance. The Frenchman was 


not so quickly suited. He arrived " weak-sprited " 
{i.e. rather exhausted), and Melville supported him 
till a post was found. 

Melville's theological education properly so called 
now began, although, with his usual passion for know- 
ledge, he pursued his studies in oriental languages, 
especially in Syriac. Greek also was another of his 
subjects, and in it he made remarkable progress under 
Portus, the teacher of Casaubon. It is even hinted 
that Melville became somewhat swollen with pride, 
venturing to argue against his teacher's views on 
Greek pronunciation and on the accents. The rebuke 
of the teacher is recorded by James Melville — " Vos 
Scoti! vos barbari! docebitis nos Graecos pronunti- 
ationem linguae nostrae, scilicet ? " Which may be 
translated thus — "You vulgar Scotch people! will 
you teach Greeks like me the pronunciation of our 
own tongue, forsooth .'' " ^ In law, Melville con- 
tinued to indulge his insatiable appetite, for Hotman 
or Hottoman ^ was then prelecting on that subject, 
and he was the "renounedest lawer in his tyme." 
His maternal uncle, Henry Scrimger, was also a 
learned teacher of law, and with him Melville had 
frequent meetings at his " prettie room within a lig to 
Genev," by which is meant no doubt a handsome 
chateau less than a league off, and lying on the lake. 
The uncle had also his house in Geneva, like pros- 
perous burghers of the present day. There was an 
only daughter, too. But Melville carried through 
life the celibate ways of the old regime. And Henry 

1 Melville's Diary, p. 42. 

2 See art. in Scottish Histor. Rev. by D. Baird Smith, Sept , 
1916. ^ 

PREPARATION (i 545-1 574) 19 

Scrimger's " prettie room," his house on the lake 
called " the Vilet " (Violet), and his " fair ludging " 
in the town, along with the " douchtar," were all left 
to the Syndics of Geneva. Those who love Geneva 
will envy Melville his five years there amid scenery 
so grand yet friendly, and people who have ever been 
hospitable and debonnaire. 

Melville's stay in Geneva extended over five years. 
He was fortunate in finding quiet refuge there, for 
wild storms raged without. The massacre of St. 
Bartholomew in 1572 marked the culmination of the 
French king's attack on the Huguenots. It excited 
horror and alarm wherever there were dissentients 
from the Roman Church ; and it brought a crowd of 
refugees to Geneva, of whom it is said nearly a 
hundred were men of academic rank and distinction. 
Among them were Joseph Scaliger, the greatest 
scholar of his age, Hottoman the jurist, and Bonne- 
foy the orientalist. It is not difficult to see what this 
meant for an eager scholar like Melville, to whom the 
lecture-rooms of such notables offered a continual 
feast. It is certain that, over and above the theo- 
logical (doctrinal) prelections of Beza, he attended 
the lectures of Scaliger on philosophy, of F. Hotto- 
man on Roman Law, of Bonnefoy on Mohammedan 
Jurisprudence, while he c-ame into contact with the 
theologian Danaeus, afterwards of Leyden, and with 
Paulus Melissus, translator of the Psalms into Ger- 
man. Geneva, a small city at best, was teeming with 
the new ideas in religion, philosophy, and politics. 
Every leading scholar was a politician, too. The 
fondness for Law was alike result and cause of 
the political ferment which produced books like 


Hottoman's Franco-Gallia, belonging to the same 
class as Knox's Monstrous Regiment of Women, 
Buchanan's De Jure Regni apud Scotos, and 
H. Languet's Vindkiae contra Tyrannos, the author- 
ship of which was veiled under the pen-name Junius 
Brutus. The uncertainty which surrounds the 
authorship of such books as Beza's De Jure Magis- 
tratuum and Languet's Vindkiae suggests that a good 
deal of the political output was due to collaboration. 
Melville in short was in touch with a kind of 
Athenaeum Club of accomplished scholars who had 
imbibed the new learning and (in some cases at least) 
the principles of Calvin and Knox, and who, to a 
man, were republican in sentiment and practice. To 
recognise this is to understand at once Melville's 
resolute if not rebellious attitude to the King. When 
we find Beza writing that, while he condemns sedi- 
tion, he holds it lawful for an oppressed people to 
" use other lawful remedies along with repentance 
and prayer " : that the state {i.e. the people) is the 
fountain-head of the magistrates' authority, not the 
king : that freedom of religion once obtained may 
lawmlly be maintained by arms ; and that what 
relates to conscience is of greater importance than 
mere secular concerns ; we see at once whence Mel- 
ville drew the courage and conviction which made 
him bold to call James "God's silly vassal." And 
we can also fairly enough suggest why it is that the 
Scottish presbyter retains to this day a certain hardi- 
ness and independence toward political questions 
which at times degenerate into pestilent meddling. 
It must, however, be remembered that Melville was 
not yet very deeply enamoured of Huguenotism. 

PREPARATION (i 545-1 574) 21 

He was comparatively young : he had a light-hearted 
and shrewdly humorous temper, as he had proved 
at Poitiers, and was to prove more fully at a later 
period ; and his greed of knowledge of all sorts kept 
him fairly exempt from extreme or final opinions. 
Moreover, it is probable that, although he shone in 
the technical exercises of learning, and had a pretty 
wit of his own, Melville never was, or could have 
been, a profound thinker or theologian. It is true 
that he was highly esteemed. There was indeed a 
vast amount of mutual flattery among scholars every- 
where at this time ; but that must not lead us to 
conclude that all those extravagant compliments were 
to be taken literally. The Latin tongue, though it 
served a great end for scholars of all nations, has 
always been a too ready vehicle of academic flattery. 
How lightly MelviUe then carried his weight of 
knowledge and even his Reformed doctrines may be 
concluded from one or two episodes of his homeward 
journey to Scotland in 1574. 

After the Massacre, pressing private appeals had 
reached Melville's friends, the Scrimgers, urging the 
aged professor to come home and take some dis- 
tinguished office in his country's time of need. 
While Scrimger himself declined the invitation, he 
was the means of bringing about Melville's return, 
because the latter was able to send word by Scrimger's 
messenger, Alexander Young, informing the family 
at Baldovy of his safety. In due time, Alexander 
Young reappeared at Geneva, this time bearing 
urgent and most friendly requests to Melville to 
come home, not only from the older brothers, but 
also from his nephew James, then a student in St. 


Leonard's, and about eighteen years old. It was his 
nephew's painfully composed Latin letter, " the best 
I could," which chiefly moved Andrew Melville to 
return. So close and affectionate was their relation 
that it remains a very charming feature of their lives.^ 
The scholar's life of that age predisposed to such 
intense friendships between young men ; perhaps the 
monastic habit of going in couples was also an 
element of the situation.^ Andrew Melville was 
plainly a man's man ; he attracted young men, and 
was a bon camarade. When he left Geneva early in 
1574 on his return to Scotland, it was in company 
with " the Bischop of Brechin and Mr. Andro Pol- 
wart." It was an illustration of the friendly 
Philistinism of scholars that the future episcopo- 
mastix took his journey in such company. Polwart 
is said to have been a college acquaintance at St. 
Andrews, and was travelling tutor to the bishop, 
Alexander Campbell, a youthful scion of Argyll, of 
whom Keith says that he was appointed "when he 
was yet a boy, with a new and hitherto unheard of 
power." This power, confided to a child little over 
twelve years of age, included the right to give and 
dispone every benefice vacant or to be vacant within 
his diocese, formerly in the patronage of the bishops 
of Brechin. Accordingly, in true Tulchan fashion, he 
presented most of his livings to his chief and patron, 
the Earl of Argyll, keeping only a modest stipend for 
himself as minister of Brechin. At the same time, 
he got leave of absence for seven years. Part of this 
he spent in Scotland, the rest abroad ; and he com- 

^ See Melville's Diary, pp. 30, 31. 

2 Compare the case of Smeaton and Thomas Maitland, p. 97. 

PREPARATION (1545-1574) 23 

pleted his leave in Getxeva, where he was in residence 
" at the schools " in January, 1574. ^ The parish and 
diocese took care of themselves during this lengthy 
minority. It is quite in keeping with the attitude 
of Knox and his friends to the Concordat of Leith 
that Melville should tolerate the companionship of 
this boy-bishop ; because the Concordat to them 
meant nothing more than a legal and financial ex- 
pedient, to secure the episcopal revenues for educa- 
tion, poor relief, and the parochial ministry. The 
reformers were however punished for their simple 
cunning, because the Scottish lords laid hands on the 
greater part of the property. The Tulchan bishop, 
as a rule, got only his stipend as a parish minister, 
sometimes not even that. Some of the " Tulchans " 
died in extreme poverty. They were regarded by 
their brethren of the Reformed ministry with good- 
humoured contempt, but generally without active 
dislike. Thus Knox, who opposed the revival of 
episcopacy in principle, but was undoubtedly a party 
to the Concordat, when his old friend John Douglas, 
Rector of the University, was promoted by the 
patron, the Earl of Morton, to the archbishopric of 
St. Andrews, merely said — "Alas, for pitie! to lay 
upone an auld weak man's back that quhilk twentie 
of the best gifts could nocht bear. It will wrak him 
and disgrace him." ^ The Tulchans were, in fact, mere 
receivers for the lay patrons. They had no episcopal 
authority among their brethren ; rather the opposite, 
because their elevation bred jealousy, and they were 
almost always hard pressed by presbyterial discipline. 
They were a laughing-stock to the Anglican prelates, 
1 See Keith's Catalogue, p. 1 66. ^ Melville's Diary, p. 3 1 . 


and indeed to Christendom ; and only the atmosphere 
of rough Scots humour in which they tried to breathe 
saved them from complete ostracism, and even from 
lynching by the hot-blooded Scots mob. Bishops in 
Scotland were safe while men laughed at them ; as 
soon as men ceased to laugh, they walked in fear, and 
Honeyman and Sharp tasted death. 

Thus Melville fared merrily with the Bishop and 
his tutor, Andrew Polwart. When they came to 
Orleans by boat down the Loire, their company 
included " a captean, a mediciner, and a priest, super- 
stitius Papists at their meitting kythed (known) in 
their speitche and meattes." Here is a cast for new 
Canterbury Tales, with one bishop partly reformed, 
one tutor from St. Andrews, one student trained in 
St. Andrews, Paris, Poitiers, and Geneva ; one mili- 
tary officer, one doctor, and one Roman priest — a rare 
mingling of roles! Melville, the finished student, 
no doubt ably seconded by Polwart, wrought so well 
"be (by) mirrie and solid reasoning," that their 
popish companions became " flech-eatters on Freday, 
and the captean nocht far from the kingdome of 
heavin, or (ere) they parted." By the time they 
reached the gates of Orleans, Melville had sprained 
his leg and was travelling on horseback. While the 
bishop and Polwart being on foot were allowed to 
enter unchallenged, Melville was stopped and ques- 
tioned by the guard. _ " The souldarts inquyres what 
he was. He answerit, 'A Scottes man.' 'O! yie 
Scottes men are all Hugonotes,' sayes the gard. 
' Hugonotes,' says he, ' what's that ? We ken nocht 
sic' ' O,' says the souldart, « yie haiff nocht mess.' 
' Forsuthe,' says he mirrelie, ' our berns in Scotland 

PREPARATION (1545- 15 74) 25 

gaes daylie to mess! ' Guid companion,' sayes the 
uther, lauching, ' go thy way.' " ^ 

Melville's quick wit was still further challenged, 
when, on leaving the inn after an interval, they met 
the procession of the Host. The bishop and his 
" pedagogue " were in front, and the former in much 
perplexity turned back and asked " What shall I 
do ? " " Forward ! " said Melville. As they ad- 
vanced, Melville pretended to be carrying a bundle 
under his arm, and therefore unable to doff his cap. 
They all passed unnoticed. But, adds the pious 
admiring nephew, " his hart bet (beat) him thairafter 
oft and sear, that he sould haifF sa stoutlie counsellit 
the uther, and usit a piece of dissimulation him 
selff." ^ It is instructive to read in the diarist how 
Mr. Andro, reaching Paris, reasoned with Father 
Tyrie at the Jesuits' College for sundry days, and was 
forced to beat a hasty retreat because of some 
" minassing " (menacing) speeches of the " Bishop of 
Glasgow." The Reformed Archbishop of Glasgow 
at this time was James Boyd, whose son afterwards 
became professor of Divinity in Glasgow ; and this 
menacing " bishop " was James Beaton, the Roman 
one, in exile. In such wise did the three com- 
rades pursue their way, from Dieppe to Rye, and 
thence to London, where they stayed for some time. 
There they bought horses and rode by Berwick and 
Loudon to Edinburgh. Melville's library, " ritche 
and rare," followed him next year, " cleirlie declaring, 
by his instruments, what a craftesman he was." . . . 

His nephew's summing up of the results of this 
first epoch is among the best passages of Scottish 
1 Melville's Diary, p. 43. 'Hid. p. 43. 


prose of the time : " As to that he brought ham(e) 
with him : It was that plentiful! and inexhaust threas- 
sour of all guid letters & lerning, bathe of human 
and devyne things ; and that quhilk superexcelles— 
ane profound knawledge, upright sinceritie, and fer- 
vent zeall in trew relligion, and to put the sam(e) in 
use for his Kirk and countrey ; ane unwearied pean- 
fulness and insatiable pleasour to giff out & bestow 
the sam(e) without anie recompence or gean. Yea, 
rather, sa far as his small moyen might reak (reach), 
conduceing and inviting all guid ingynes to receave 
and imbrace the saming." 

II. Glasgow (i 574-1 580) 

After ten years abroad, and at the age of twenty- 
nine, we find Andrew Melville launched at length on 
his career. His absence had added to his fame as a 
scholar. Tempting offers awaited him. He was 
invited to become " chaplain " to the Regent Morton, 
with the prospect of high ecclesiastical promotion. 
The post of chaplain-tutor was then and for long 
after the recognised avenue to preferment in the 
Church. But Melville had no taste for such work ; 
his inclination never was strictly clerical, but rather 
academic and pedagogic. His experience of Ramus 
and other free and independent professors at Paris 
made the lot of an ecclesiastic distasteful to him. 
Excusing himself to the Regent's deputation, he 
obtained permission to take a short holiday among 
his friends, and went straight to the familiar scenes of 
Baldovy for three months (July to September, 1574). 
There he was at home. His nephew, fresh from St. 

GLASGOW (i 574-1 580) 27 

Leonard's College, with the magister's degree 
attained, was designated as his personal attendant, 
and soon became his pupil. James Melville at 
eighteen had not profited much at St. Leonard's. 
Once the College of Poor Clerks, St. Leonard's was 
fast becoming the haunt of the wealthier youths, the 
primores, as they were called when Sharp was regent 
in 1640. It is true that James Melville's regent, 
William Collace, seems to have been free from the 
greed which characterised Sharp. When another 
uncle (James of Aberbrothock, styled " richt worschip- 
ful ") ^ came with Collace in his train to Baldovy, the 
boy found the latter loving and painstaking. Arid 
later when the father himself visited St. Andrews, and 
entertained Mr. Collace to dinner, there happened 
an instructive incident. The elder Melville, after 
dinner, when his learned guest had gone, sent the 
boy after the regent "with twa piece of gold in a 
neapkine ; but the gentleman was sa honest and 
loving that he would haiff non of his gold, but with 
austere countenance send me bak with it ; ' na, never 
wald receave gold nor silver all the tyme of my 
course ! '" 2 It is seldom we hear of so handsome 
a " tip " being returned, and it reflects lustre on the 
character of William Collace. We need not, how- 
ever, conclude that young James Melville was 
educated gratis. He had, we know, a bursary ; and 
the regent's austerity would surely not prevent some 
substantial returns from the laird of Baldovy. But 
the St. Leonard's of that day was not what it had 

1 See suj>ra, p. 2. 

2 Melville's Diary, p. 25. But regents were forbidden to take 


been, when " to drink of St Leonard's well " meant 
a kind of academic distinction amid the dogmatic 
slumbers of St. Salvator's and St. Mary's. James 
Melville found his uncle easy to serve in bodily 
matters, but very hard to satisfy in the point of 
learning. " In my conceat I thought I could haiff 
talked to him in things I had hard, as he did to me as 
a Maister of Arts ; but I perceavit at annes (once) 
that I was bot an ignorant bable. . . . He fand me 
bauche (backward) in the Latin toung, a pratler upon 
precepts in Logik." ^ . . . After this preliminary 
examination, the uncle tried his hand on this humbled 
and eager pupil. They read Buchanan's Psalms, 
Virgil, Horace, Terence, Caesar, and Sallust in quite 
a new way, for the older scholar taught his pupil to 
relish style, simplicity, rhythm, and humour — in 
short, to read Latin authors in a human way. In 
Greek, after hard grammatical drill, they read mostly 
the New Testament ; while in Hebrew, their chief 
task was to study grammar and dictionary. The 
time was short, yet it served to set up young James 
Melville for life as a decent scholar. " And all this," 
says that diarist, "as it war bot pleying and craking 
(chatting) ; sa that I lernit mikle mair by heiring of 
Jhim in daylie conversation, bathe thet quarter and 
thairefter, nor (than) ever I lernit of anie bulk ; 
whowbeit, he set me ever to the best authors." ^ 

There is good ground for dwelling on this summer 
vacation of Melville, because we see in it his crown- 
ing art and gift as an educationist. He made 
learning not indeed easy, but full of human interest, 
even to so soft and "bauche" a scholar as his nephew. 

1 Melville's Diary, p. 46. ^ Ibid. p. 47. 

GLASGOW (1574- 1 580) 29 

There is voluntary testimony from James Melville's 
diary that he was not a very industrious boy, but 
rather fond of games, and music, and songs, and even 
the lenes sub noctem susurri, which harmed him less 
than others because "God gaiff me a piece of His 
fear, and grait natural shamfastness (modesty), quhilk 
by His grace war my preservatives." ^ To this 
youth came the finished scholar who had seen the 
world and was no prude ; who knew what rich enter- 
tainment is in scholars' books, and what defence from 
tedium and temptation ; and who carried his learning 
lightly as his scholar's Bible at girdle. The genius 
of Victor Hugo has drawn the picture of uncle and 
nephew in Notre Dame, but in how different a mode, 
and with what different issues! Andrew Melville, 
though celibate, was one of the merry band of Scots 
scholars who could relish the humour of life and dissolve 
out its good from the evil. He loved youth with a 
pure paternal love, such as aU great schoolmasters have 
shown ; and he became as young as his students 
without ceasing to inspire and educate them. His 
teacher, P. Ramus, had at least bidden him seek in 
every philosophy the fruits which nourish life. This 
precept and secret Melville passed on to his pupils 
in every department of learning. What Robert 
Louis Stevenson called " profit of life " was to him 
the end of knowledge. Thus it was that, as a great 
educational reformer, he liberated scholarship, as far 
as his power went, from pedantry, mystery, self- 
conceit, and trades-unionism, and beckoned young 
men to new fields Avith unselfish hand, instead of 
guarding some fancied craft for a few. 

^ Ibid. p. 29. 


The summer at Baldovy was not uninterrupted. 
The General Assembly, to which Beza had sent a 
laudatory letter concerning Melville, received repre- 
sentatives from two separate Synods, urging that 
Melville should be granted to them for academic 
work. Fife craved him as successor to Archbishop 
John Douglas, rector and principal of St. Mary's 
College, St. Andrews, just deceased. Glasgow and 
Ayr also claimed him, through Archbishop Boyd, as 
head of the reformed University of Glasgow in 
succession to Davidson. The latter invitation was 
endorsed by the Assembly, although the turn of St. 
Andrews was yet to come. Meantime, Melville, 
though not a member, was nominated to an Assembly 
Committee appointed to examine Mr. Patrick Adam- 
son's Latin poetical version of Job, and to grant it 
imprimatur if found orthodox. The other members 
were Buchanan, P. Young (the king's pedagogue), 
and James Lawson, minister of Edinburgh, a fellow- 
student of Melville at St. Andrews. Dr. M'Crie 
points out that this Assembly took the opportunity 
of emphasising the rank (not the orders) of the 
Doctor or Teacher, as a distinct office-bearer of the 
Church, discharging the office of interpreter of Holy 
Scripture in the University. This doctorate is of 
course quite distinct from the Doctorate in Divinity 
which ere long ^ crept into Scotland from the sister 
country, and was not too cordially welcomed. Every 
theological professor is entitled to the ecclesiastical 
style of Doctor, under the terms used in the Second 
Book of Discipline. Custom, however, restrains our 
modern professor from adopting the title until he has 

1 In 1616. 

GLASGOW (i 574-1 580) 31 

received the honorary degree of D.D. It cannot be 
denied that this last distinction was unknown in the 
Scottish Reformed Church until the union of the 
Crowns, and is really an Anglican novelty. It is also 
bad Latin. The office of a Doctor in the Church, at 
this time, vested in any individual by the same title 
as that of Pastor or Minister of the Gospel, viz. by 
the solemn call of the Church. Thus we have seen 
that Melville was offered calls both to St. Andrews 
and to Glasgow. The logical result was that the 
presbytery (or brethren duly assembled pro hac vice) 
were required to take the Doctor, even as the Pastor, 
upon trials to determine the proportion of his gifts 
to the special work involved, and then to ordain and 
induct him to the same. Long after this, the 
General Assembly passed a special Act defining the 
law of the Church on this point.^ 

Melville was directed by the Assembly to visit 
Glasgow and " sie the beginning of a College ther, 
and heir what conditiones sould be offered to him." ^ 
The result of this visit was that Melville consented to 
begin his work as principal master after the vacation. 
Accordingly, at the end of October, he set out from 
Baldovy, accompanied by his brother John, minister 
of Christ's Kirk in Crail, and by his devoted nephew, 
the diarist. On the road, and possibly by command, 
he visited the young king, James VI., at Stirling. 
James Melville says " we saw the king," and Dr. 
M'Crie translates this into the statement that Andrew 
Melville was " introduced to the king." But there 
is no record of any conversation between those two 
personages, who were fated to converse so often and 

1 See Act of Assembly, 1838, sess. ult. ^ Diary, p. 47. 


so briskly at a later date. The king was nine years 
old, Andrew Melville twenty-nine. Melville's real 
object was to see George Buchanan, with whom he 
conferred at length. He talked also with Peter 
Young (the "pedagogue," as Buchanan was the 
" master "), and with Alexander Young, his brother ; 
as well as with Buchanan's nephew Thomas, and with 
the king's "medicinar," Gilbert MoncriefF. The 
group is significant, not only educationally but politi- 
cally. The king's entourage was made up of 
Buchanans and Youngs, magisters and pedagogues, 
along with a doctor. The young king himself talked 
learnedly of " knawlage and ignorance " as might be 
expected in such company. The air they all breathed 
was that of Geneva. It was not likely to be congenial 
to a king after he grew up. 

From this passing but important conference, the 
new Principal went to his difficult undertaking at 
Glasgow. Never was any University in a more 
deplorable state. Starting as a Studium Generale, or 
public school of learning, it was empowered by the 
papal bull to include in its studies theology, canon 
and civil law, the arts, and every other faculty which 
might later be allowed.-^ The statutes of Bologna 
were recognised as applying to Glasgow. Bologna 
was essentially a students' University ; the students 
embodied the whole powers of the University, exer- 
cising control, through their Rector elected by them- 
selves, over the professors and masters ; residing in 
any place or group which they preferred, and regu- 

1 M'Crie says " useful faculty," but licita refers to the need of 
distinct permission from the Pope. At Paris, for instance, civil 
law was not licita facultas. 

GLASGOW (1574-1580) 33 

lating their own discipline. It was under such an 
amazing system that the Pope himself (Nicholas V.) 
had been bred. The life of a professor in the student- 
universities was not a happy one ; he could get leave 
of absence only by permission of his students, he was 
fine'd whenever the attendance fell below five, he must 
begin when the bell began under fine of twenty solidi, 
his students were entitled to leave when the bell rang 
for tierce, and so forth.-^ Nothing like it has been 
seen until the Workers' Educational Union entered 
on its career some years ago, forming classes whose 
members choose the professor and text-book, and 
may discard both for cause. The statutes of the 
Glasgow Studium Generale were not, however, iden- 
tical with those of Bologna and other student- 
universities. The whole plan fell through for lack 
of endowments. Only one faculty attained substan- 
tial being, that of Arts. At the Reformation, the 
Collegium or University (terms then synonymous) 
had as its Principal Master John Davidson, and 
received some scanty doles for its sustenance. But 
Davidson was not able to revive the moribund school 
for which he had striven to make a worldly provision. 
He became reformed, and accepted the parish of 
Hamilton about 1571 •,^ and then the public-spirited 
Andrew Hay, parson of Renfrew, persuaded the 
Glasgow Town Council to set about restoring the 
College. By various expedients, a modest income 
was secured for a principal or provost, two regents, 
, and twelve poor scholars. The principal was to 
^ Rashdall, ofi. cit., I. 197 sqq. 

^But M'Crie thinks that the minister of Hamilton was another 
John Davidson. 


expound the Scriptures publicly ; the regents (who 
taught philosophy) were to take their turn in reading 
prayers in the Blackfriars Church near the College. 
The principal thus became professor of theology 
( = divinity). He was bound to live with the students 
and regents, on pain of losing his office. He was 
not permitted to have his wife (if he was married) 
resident in the College. This was one of the un- 
gallant regulations which survived the wreck of the 
Bologna statutes. 

Such was (very baldly outlined) the first Reforma- 
tion scheme at Glasgow College. Davidson, though 
technically the first professor of Divinity after the 
Reformation, did not actually teach. There was, in 
short, an interval of almost complete quiescence, 
though Peter Blackburn was brought from St. 
Andrews to act as temporary chief -regent. At Mel- 
ville's installation, the College of Glasgow may be 
described as being in a state of suspended animation. 
Dr. M'Crie estimates its total revenues at three 
hundred pounds Scots, and the number of persons 
provided for at fifteen. The main cause of this state 
of things was the Reformation, which necessarily 
undermined the ecclesiastical basis of the College. 
We must, however, be chary of supposing that the 
College of Glasgow had ever been very flourishing 
under the Roman Church. Its release from papal 
control marked the blossoming of new life. Though 
it exchanged Pope for Presbyter, the latter never bore 
so heavily on the independence of the teaching staff 
as the old sacerdotalism had done. 

The account of Melville's methods as Principal 
Master, given by his nephew, has long been a 

GLASGOW (1574-1580) 35 

commonplace in the history of education. It is well- 
nigh a classic in quotations. James Melville was 
hardly nineteen when he attended his redoubtable 
chief on the first journey to Glasgow, and shared as 
secretary the labours of the reorganisation. The task 
was easier because there was no one on the spot except 
Mr. Peter Blackburn, a St. Andrews man, who 
accepted Andrew Melville's views with entire good- 
will. Mr. Peter was at first relieved of his teaching 
and set to the task of steward, to take " the cair of 
the CoUege leiving." Melville took the whole 
burden of teaching on his own capable shoulders. 
He introduced startling innovations. Latin being 
assumed, he threw himself into Greek, doing the 
Grammar, the Dialectic of Ramus and the Rhetoric 
of Talaeus (Talon), both as illustrated in Homer, 
Hesiod, Phocylides, Theognides, Pythagoras, Iso- 
crates, Pindar, Theocritus. Horace, and Virgil were 
not omitted. Such was the classical side. In the 
scientific department, he taught Euclid, the Arith- 
metic and Geometry of Ramus, the Geography of 
Dionysius, the Tables of Honter, the Astrology of 
Aratus. In Natural Philosophy, he fell back on 
Aristotle's Physics, but did not neglect Plato and 
Fernelius. In Moral Philosophy, he expounded 
Aristotle's Ethics, Cicero de Officiis, and some of 
Plato's dialogues. Not content with this, he attacked 
the study of History, dealing in the then approved 
manner with chronology and palaeography (cheiro- 

The actual "profession," or department, which 
Melville latterly undertook, was that of Divinity and 
Oriental Languages ("the holie tonges and Theo- 


logy"). Accordingly, he taught Hebrew, Chaldee, 
and Syriac, and the loci communes or " common 
heads" of theology, not neglecting the exegesis of 
the Scriptures as a whole. 

His nephew says that Melville ordinarily taught 
twice every day, including Sunday, and that he held 
an " ordinar conference " after dinner and supper 
with those who were present. The whole course 
marked out by Melville covered six years, a notable 
shortening of the time formerly required to tvirn out 
a priest. Into this space were packed the Arts and 
Divinity subjects, the student being eligible for 
licence as a preacher of the gospel long ere he reached 
his majority. Melville built from the foundation 
with his own hand. Selecting his students for their 
ability and promise, he aimed at providing a band 
of lecturers who would be useful both in Glasgow 
and elsewhere. Of those chosen youths, his nephew 
was one, and Peter Blackburn was another. The 
old system of " regenting," by which the same regent 
or tutor carried the students through the entire Arts 
course of three years, was in 1577 abolished. Hence- 
forward, each regent had his department allotted to 
him. To James Melville were entrusted mathe- 
matics, logic, and moral philosophy : to Peter Black- 
burn, physics and astronomy ; and to Blaise Laurie, 
Greek and Roman rhetoric. A separate teacher was 
appointed in Hebrew. Melville himself continued 
to act as Professor of Divinity. On the whole, it 
was a wonderful six years' work. Students came in 
freely, chiefly from St. Andrews. The list of laurea- 
tions in 1578-80 contains twenty-one names. James 
Melville declares that the rooms (i.e. bedrooms) were 

GLASGOW (i 574-1 580) 37 

not able to receive all who entered their names. He 
is naturally eulogistic, and we must take with reserve 
his statement that there was no place in Europe com- 
parable to Glasgow for good literature in those six 
years. It is certain, however, that the critical transi- 
tion from the Roman to the Reformed control was 
safely made, and that thenceforth Glasgow showed 
steady progress among the recognised Universities of 
the time. 

The chief stage in Melville's reconstruction is of 
course marked by the Nova Erectio of 1577. There 
we have the methods, already practised by Melville, 
ratified by royal charter. There is internal evidence 
in the deed of " Erection by the King," that Melville 
supplied the very terms which describe the new curri- 
culum. He had long before digested his views in 
conference with George Buchanan and Arbuthnot of 
Aberdeen. The charter recites that the Collegium or 
Paedagogium of Glasgow had fallen into extreme 
distress, and that its revenues were quite inadequate 
for the maintenance of a principal, masters, regents, 
bursars, and needfiil officers in any college. It then 
dispones to those persons the whole benefice of 
Govan for themselves and their successors, and at the 
same time confirms their former possessions, on con- 
dition of their offering common prayers and supplica- 
tions for the prosperity of the king and his successors, 
and of teaching of good literature and languages and 
other needful " professions," and of practising good 
discipline and order in the College. Such is the 
instrument of donation. 

There follows the "tenor" of the "erection and 
foundation." It is here that Melville's Latinity may 


be detected in the formal setting forth of his educa- 
tional plans. Since providence has willed that the 
light of the Evangel should pre-eminently shine on 
our Scotland, the darkness of Papistry having been 
dispelled (so runs this notable " tenor "), therefore we 
must seek to hand down this blessing to posterity. 
This cannot be done better than by education. And 
education is like to perish unless it be nourished by 
rewards and honours. While we have been promot- 
ing education throughout the kingdom at large, we 
would also seek to gather up the fragments of the 
Academia Glasguensis, which we find sunk in penury 
and almost done for. We therefore make the fore- 
going grants, with the purpose of maintaining in that 
College twelve ordinarias personas (regular office- 
bearers). The twelve are to be, a Gymnasiarcha 
(Primarius, Praepositus, Principalis) : three regents : 
an oeconomus : four pauperes studentes : the Gym- 
nasiarch's servus : a cook ; and a janitor. These 
twelve ordinarii are to live collegialiter. The living 
of Govan being valued at twenty-four chalders, they 
are to be entitled to expend twenty-one of these on 
the sustenance of themselves, without luxury or pro- 
fusion ; and any surplus is to be used for pious 
purposes and for repairing the buildings. The staff 
are to be incited to more serious study frugali victus 
ratione. In other words, their rations are to be of a 
sparing amount, so that there may be a surplus. 

The Gymnasiarch or Principal must be a man plus 
et probus, to whom the College and its several 
members ought to be subordinate. As a teacher, he 
must be versed in the Literae Sacrae, an apt expositor 
of the Verbum Divinum, skilled in languages, especi- 

GLASGOW (i 574-1 580) 39 

ally in Hebrew and Syriac, " of which we appoint 
him Professor." He must prelect daily for at least 
one hour, on Theology the one day, and on these 
sacred tongues the alternate day. The terms are 
praelectionem Theologicam seligat, and linguam 
ipsam sanctam explicaturus. The distinction is 
between reading a lecture and teaching a class. But 
the Sabbath is to be immune from praelections, and 
this for a peculiar reason — that whole day belonged 
to the Gymnasiarch's hearers, and must be spent by 
him in preparing his sermon for the people of Govan. 
For since the College was to be nourished from the 
fruits of that benefice, "we judge it fair that they 
who minister temporal things should enjoy spiritual " 
— aequum esse duximus ut qui temporalia ministrant 
spiritualia percipiant. Therefore the Principal is to 
give his utmost possible effort to feed the flock in 
Govan. Every Lord's Day he must exhort them to 
piety and probity ; but his fixed residence must be 
in the College, and he may not absent himself unless 
after consultation with the Rector, the Dean of 
Faculty and his other colleagues the regents. Should 
he indeed spend the night (pernoctaverit) outside the 
College precincts on three successive occasions, his 
post became vacant, and the Crown appointed within 
thirty days. Failing a Crown appointment, the 
choice of principal fell to the Chancellor (Archbishop 
of Glasgow), the Rector, the Dean of Faculty, and 
the ministers of the five adjacent parishes, Glasgow, 
Hamilton, Cadder, Monkland, and Renfrew. In 
appointing, they were to intimate a public examina- 
tion by notices on the College and Cathedral gates, 
and likewise to notify the St. Andrews and Aberdeen 


men, and others si quae aliae sint nostrae Academiae. 
There was thus to be a public competition, as there 
is still for the Chair of Systematic Theology at Aber- 
deen. The salary of this vir gravis, doctus, et 
idoneus was to be 200 merles, along with the three 
remaining chalders from Govan for his services as 
minister. Should he turn out negligent and of evil 
manners, a majority of the patrons might dismiss him 
from his post after three warnings, conveyed to him 
by his colleagues. 

Then follows the plan of teaching by regents who 
are to superintend the training of youth and act as 
assistants to the praepositus or principal. Three are 
designated — the favourite number of Melville, either 
in itself or in some multiple.^ The number may 
also have been suggested by the mediaeval Trivium. 
The three regents are termed primus, secundus, and 
tertius ; but this is the order of increasing, not of 
decreasing, importance, as is shewn by the subse- 
quent specification of duties and salaries. The first 
regent was to teach Eloquentia (Rhetoric, Literae 
humaniores) from the most approved writers ; he 
was also to " profess " Greek ; and in both tongues 
he was to exercise his students both in writing and in 
speaking. Thus the students were to be prepared 
for the second session's work. This was confided to 
the second regent, who was to teach Dialectic and 
Logic from the most approved authors, such as 
Cicero, Plato, and Aristotle ; also, the elements of 
Arithmetic and Geometry. To each of these two 

1 Three Scots universities : three St. Andrews colleges : three 
chalders for the minister of Govan : thirty days for Crown 
appointment : three warnings to a bad Principal, etc. 

GLASGOW (i 574-1 580) 41 

regents was assigned in name of salary fifty merles a 
year out of the general revenue available before the 
Nova Erectio. 

The third regent was, oddly enough, the chief of 
the Principal's colleagues, and would be described as 
taking the First or Graduating Class. His task 
was to teach Phisiologiam omnem, eamque quae 
de Natura est auscultationem . . . Geographiam 
etiam et Astrologiam profitebitur necnon generalem 
etiam Chronographiam et temporum a condito mundo 
supputationem. This stupendous undertaking is 
identical with the old department of Civil and 
Natural History, of which there survived a chair and 
a professor (without students) in the University of 
St. Andrews within living memory. It was a " pro- 
fession " indeed without adequate " practice." Even 
Melville did not expect very much from the third 
regent beyond Physiologia, which represented the old 
Physics of the Scots curriculum. And his hand is 
clearly visible in the clause of the Charter which 
follows : " However, since we would set a limit to 
the charge and labours of this third regent within the 
Arts Course, and would have our graduates (pileo 
donates) apply the more keenly to weightier studies ; 
further, since the business side of the Gymnasium 
and the care of it shall belong to him in any absence 
of the Praepositus, or his being otherwise engaged 
in the ministration and care of Govan Church, we 
allow the same regent fifty pounds (libras) of our 
money per annum from the former endowments." 
Thus the third regent was to be paid half as much 
again as each of the other two, and about one-third 
of the principal's salary. 


In considering these salaries, we must bear in mind 
that they represent only the payment in money. We 
must add to each the payment in kind, for the prin- 
cipal and regents were to be boarded at a common 
table. If we estimate that each of the four consumed 
three chalders of the Govan stipend per annum, we 
must add to their several salaries something like fifty 
pounds Scots. The emoluments, for such times, 
were not therefore contemptible. The place of Prae- 
positus or Principal was certainly for the time a desir- 
able one in point of income. It may be regarded as 
being worth, in modern money, as much as the best 
livings in the Church. It must also be remembered 
that each regent received payments from his scholars, 
either as fixed dues, or as gratuities. Altogether, the 
position of a regent was not uncomfortable, and in 
some cases (as where wealthy or titled pupils entered 
a class), the regent might well become a of some 

One important provision was inserted. The regent 
was no longer to take his class through every depart- 
ment of the Arts course, but was to confine himself 
to his appointed " profession," unless the Principal 
saw fit to allow an exchange of " chairs." Melville's 
blunt style is seen in the reason assigned for this 
innovation on the custom of the other Universities 
of Scotland (and indeed of the then world) — by this 
custom of " regenting," he declares, it has come about 
that the regents profess many subjects but are found 
expert in few (ut dum multa profiteantur, in paucis 
periti inveniantur— like a rhyming pasquinade). 

The election of regents lay with the Rector, the 
Dean, and the Principal. Their correction or disci- 

GLASGOW (i 574-1 580) 43 

pline was placed in the hands of the Principal alone ; 
and he also had power to dismiss them after three 
warnings, provided due ground was shown and the 
advice of the Rector and the Dean taken. 

The little community of the Paedagogium was to 
include four bursars, whose paupertas was to signify 
not only that their friends through lack of means 
could not feed them, but also that they had con- 
spicuous ability and had had an adequate training in 
grammar. The Principal was empowered to see that 
the rich were not admitted to bursaries in place of 
the poor, neve fuci alvearia depascant} The bursars 
were to be punished by the Principal if they mis- 
behaved : they were to remain on the list for three 
years and a half, the period required for a course in 
Arts in all the Scots colleges ; and they must proceed 
to the M.A. degree. 

The oeconomus was an important official, and his 
responsibility for the revenue and expenditure was 
recognised by payment of a salary of twenty pounds 
Scots. The Principal's servitor, the cook and the 
janitor each received board from the common table 
and six merks ; and they are all appointed or dis- 
missed at the discretion of the Primarius himself. 
There follows immediately an exhortation to all 
fundatas personas to do their work Christiane, and 
thus fulfil the royal expectation. Nor are the 
students (" who, we hope, will flock in great numbers 
from every part of this kingdom to our Gymnasium ") 
overlooked in the matter of good advice. They are 
exhorted to behave quietly, to obey the Principal and 
regents, and the like. Moreover, a caution is given 
^ " Nor let the drones devour the hives." 


against the astuteness of Satan, everywhere striving 
to seduce young men from the Evangel to the more 
than Cimmerian night of the Papacy. The students 
are required to make declaration of their faith in 
terms of the Scots Confession once a year, and so to 
rout the enemy of the human race, and promote the 
glory of God. 

This historical deed was followed by a solemn 
public investiture in Govan Church on September 6, 
1577, when the Archbishop of Glasgow, James Boyd, 
at the request of Peter Blackburn, " one of the 
regents of the Collegium Glasguense," personally 
proceeded to the church and instituted Blackburn, as 
representing the principal, regents, bursars, servants, 
and other founded officers, and their successors, in 
the whole rectory and vicarage teinds and other pro- 
perty of the parish. The symbol was per delihera- 
tionem Bibliae. Blackburn took instruments. The 
group of witnesses present on the occasion included 
David Wemyss, minister of Glasgow, Patrick Sharp, 
preceptor of the Grammar School, and James Gibson, 
vicar-pensioner of Govan. This, so far as appears, 
was the only ordination or induction Melville ever 
had. It wears a curious air, since Melville himself 
was absent.^ 

The position of Blackburn at this ceremony was 
significant of his important rank and functions. He 
was the principal's alter ego, and chief regent, exactly 
as provided in the Charter. He acted as agent 
(actor) in the College affairs, and probably the 
oeconomus himself was superseded by him on many 
occasions. Blackburn left Glasgow to become 
1 For the text of the Nova Erectio, see Munimenta, I. 103 sqq. 

GLASGOW (i 574-1 580) 45 

minister of Aberdeen, where he finally accepted the 
office of bishop in 1603, dying in 161 5, in some 
unpopularity with both sections of the Church, 
presbyterian and episcopaL^ 

The work of Melville left its mark on the succeed- 
ing ages of the University. The gradual ascent from 
Languages (Eloquentia) to Mental Science, and 
thence, in the First or Highest Class, to Physical 
Science, was observed implicitly in Scots Universities 
up to the time of the Universities' Commission in 
1889. The master's degree up till then was taken 
in those three departments and in the order recited — 
Classics, Philosophy, Mathematics. Many remain 
who think the old way better than our modern 
system of options. Yet even the new M.A. degree 
has traces of Melville's plan, for it requires still 
Languages, Mental Science, and Physical Science, 
although the proportions have changed. Melville's 
aim was to lay a solid foundation of general know- 
ledge. The regent was to instil knowledge, apart 
from "culture." There were certain definite things 
to be narrated (enanare) — things which the professor 
had first himself assimilated (degus tare), a.nd on which 
he could talk clearly (explicare). Such were Dialectic 
and Logic and Physiologia (Natural History). There 
were others which the professor was to "profess" 
(profiteri) — things which involved a wider and more 
general treatment. Such were Rhetoric and History 
(Chronographia). The terms used in the Nova 
Erectio are not chosen at random. The Gymnasi- 
archa or Principal alone is styled professor. It was 

1 See Keith's Catalogue, p. 131. Blackburn was minister of St. 
Nicholas, Aberdeen. 


a style and title which Melville little liked. The 
regent was not to profess too much, but rather he was 
to narrate, dictate, explicate. 

The relation of the Arts course to Theology was 
indicated in the vague expression . . . volumus . . . 
pileo donatos adolescentes ad graviora stud'ta alacrius 
contendere. These " more weighty " or serious 
studies must refer to the special work of the Principal 
as Professor of Divinity. As the Arts course con- 
sumed three years and a half, the special theological 
training was compressed into the remaining two and 
a half years. But the student who had graduated 
Master of Arts had practically got all that Melville's 
College could give him. For Law he must needs go 
abroad to Holland or Bologna ; for Medicine, there 
was as yet no provision nearer than Paris ; even in 
Theology, the knowledge imparted by Melville's 
scheme was chiefly catechetical in character. The 
real practical training of preachers was effected 
through the " Exercise," that convention of ministers 
of the Gospel which soon developed into the local 
presbytery. Thus James Melville, after his laurea- 
tion, says, "God opened my mouth first in publict 
upon the exercise " in the presence and under the 
superintendence of Mr. Andrew Hay. The latter 
was in fact " moderator " of the meeting, and gave 
the young student much commendation. The 
"Exercise and Addition" of the Divinity Hall is a 
survival of the presbyterial exercise. At meetings 
of the brethren up till the middle of the eighteenth 
century, one member was appointed to open the exer- 
cise and to "add," or sum it up. The minute 
generally states that Mr. Such-an-One " opened and 

GLASGOW (i 574-1 580) 47 

added in the ordinar}'." James Melville was so 
encouraged by his maiden effort that he dreamed of 
" making the exercise " in Montrose, where his father 
would be one of the hearers. That same night his 
father died. The dream did not much impress his 
uncle Andrew, who dryly remarked that a previous 
dream of his imaginative nephew's had betokened a 
hanging, and yet ended in a wedding. ■■• 

James Melville pursued his theological studies 
under his uncle's direction, attending the " lessons " 
(prelectiones) on Calvin's Institutes. He availed 
himself of the weekly regent's duty (as " hebdo- 
mader ") to add to the common prayers in the Black- 
friars a lecture on the chapter read each day, along 
with doctrinal and practical observations. In short, 
he practised the art of preaching on his students, and 
on that part of the audience which came in from the 
general public. Again, he had a success ; people 
began to resort very frequently to his " week " ; and 
the other regents followed suit. 

The , general scheme underlying Scots College 
education at this time was that the Professor, strictly 
so called, should be aided with the raw material by 
regents, who were very much like pupil-teachers in 
their relation to him. He supervised their "dic- 
tates " or lectures : presided and summed up at their 
" disputations " or discussions ; and, for the rest, 
dealt with his special " profession " in a broader and 
less scholastic way. As it was gradually realised that 
any one subject had grown beyond the capacity of 

1 Diary, pp. 50, 51. For "opening and adding," see Grey 
Graham, Social Life in Scotland in the iSM Century, p. 28c 
(ed. 1909). 


the regent, a professorship was set up for that sub- 
ject. Thus at an early stage in Glasgow, we find a 
Professor of Medicine emerging and disappearing. 
It must be noted also that there was at first a very 
close bond between the College and the Grammar 
School. Patrick Sharp, the master of the Grammar 
School, lived in the Paedagogium with Melville, 
fared at his table, and was a " hearer " of his lectures,^ 
becoming ultimately his successor as Principal. The 
entire outline was very similar to that which is still 
to be found in Roman Catholic Colleges, where the 
student is taken through the course alike in Arts and 
in Theology by junior and senior masters, themselves 
churchmen. In Melville's college, every student was 
pledged to the Reformed doctrine, every regent was 
qualified to read prayers and " take the exercise " ; 
and the finished or laureated student might thus pass 
at once to civil or to church oflice without special or 
exactly defined ceremonies. For the churchman 
(kirkman, ecclesiastic) there always waited the 
" trials " or " inquisition " of the brethren of the 
Exercise ; but there was no ceremony of licensing to 
preach, because the mag'ister was already licensed to 
teach. Nor was there any imposition of hands at 
ordination ( = co-ordination, admission, cooptation) ; 
for the ceremony had been adjudged not necessary. 
There was of course the deliberatio Bibliae, and " the 
right hand of fellowship "; but the pastor entered as 
a magister artium, and was known professionally as 
Magister (Scotice, Maister). All this is clear enough 
from the records of that time. The reformers did 

1 Diary, p. 50. Contubernalis may cover all this, although it 
may also mean no more than a table companion. 

GLASGOW (i 574-1 580) 49 

not discard the collegiate system of the Roman educa- 
tion, except in such points as imported superstition. 
The whole Academia or Gymnasium lived together : 
women were absolutely excluded : a definite religious 
rule prevailed; and the complete scholar was manu- 
factured for any and every business of life. 

Thus, although Melville ranked as a " kirlcman," 
his students did not all become preachers and pastors. 
Some at least passed to civil life or followed arms. 
There is reason to believe, however, that for a long 
time the Scots Universities were practically theo- 
logical halls, and of no mean order even by our 
present standards. They supplied the Scottish 
Church with its ministers. The soldier, the lawyer, 
the doctor, the laird, were not invariably college-bred 
men. When they were so, their University had often 
been a foreign one. The clergy still had a kind of 
monopoly of learning, and the chief claim to the 
title now veiled itself under the curt symbol " Mr." 
This was but a natural result of the fact that the unre- 
formed Church had largely kept to itself the know- 
ledge which existed. . Its ministers were the only 
clerks { = clerici). The Reformation was far advanced 
before the notion of college learning for laymen 
became very familiar. 

The foregoing observations are not meant to 
suggest that Scotland at this time was a nation of 
illiterates on the one hand and parsons on the other. 
Such a travesty of history may indeed be suggested 
by some utterances of Knox, Melville, and even their 
common biographer. Dr. M'Crie. Yet Scotland was 
still "priest-ridden" to an extent hardly conceivable 
by the modern mind. The presbyter was incessantly 


shedding the syllable which distinguishes his style 
from priest. He retained something of the celibate, 
with his freedom of tongue and hardihood of fancy : 
there was about him, also, a certain academic conse- 
quence which might well become pomposity and long- 
winded conceit : he was half a college don and half a 
preacher : among country people he easily became 
wholly a parish pope. The upper classes of the day 
were mostly innocent of letters, no lovers of books 
or parchments, and keen bargainers for gear. In the 
king, James VI., we have the Scots layman writ 
large, a combination of pragmatic conceit with coarse- 
ness of manners and a pettifogger's love of legal 

As we leave Melville at the close of his Glasgow 
campaign, we can gather that he was not quite at 
ease. The Glasgow student had given him some 
anxious hours ; one need not recite the oft-told tale 
of Alexander Cuningham and Alexander Boyd,^ as 
well as that of young Maxwell of Herries. Mel- 
ville's words spoken in the case of Boyd have a tone 
of exasperation which is significant — " If they would 
have forgiveness, let them crave it humbly and they 
shall have it ; but ere that preparative pass that we 
dare not correct our scholars for fear of bangsters 
(bullies) and clanned gentlemen, they shall have all 
the blood of my body first! "^ It is to be supposed 
that the Principal's description of the rioters did not 
help his popularity. In any case, he was an East 
Coast man, and East and West in Scotland have 
never been quite at one. Melville's task was done, 
1 Diary, pp. 69-72. ^liid. pp. 65, 66. 

GLASGOW (i 574-1 580) 51 

and well done. We cannot b'lame him for departing 
to his old and loved College. 

The teaching in any University reflects itself in its 
library ; but the meagre list of books preserved in 
the Munimenta (III. 407) contains for 1578 only 
seventeen separate works, all presented to the College. 
The Rector, Andrew Hay of Renfrew, gives Cas- 
talio's Bible, in 4 vols, folio ; 1556. George 
Buchanan lends his aid by giving the remaining 
sixteen. It is curious that not one of Melville's new 
treatises is included — neither Ramus, nor Dionysius, 
nor Honter, nor Fernelius, nor Talaeus (Talon). 
No doubt, all these and many more novelties were 
imported by Melville from Geneva. His nephew 
smacks his scholarly lips as he tells how "the next 
simmer (1575) came ham(e) his librarie, ritche and 
rare, of the best authors in all langages, artes and 
sciences." ^ But Melville carried them with him to 
St. Andrews. A copy of Dionysius On the World, 
with the neat autograph on the title-page, Andreas 
Melvinus, and the printer's name and date, Henricus 
Stephanus, 1577, may still be seen there. Stephens 
was a Genevan printer, who is mentioned in 1574, 
in a minute of the General Assembly, with the highest 
laudation.^ Of course, there were at Glasgow the 
MSS. of a number of works prior to the introduction 
of printing, of which the list is given in the Muni- 
menta, III. 403. They were mostly bound in parch- 
ment, though some are described as being in papiro ; 
and as might be expected, they were copies of Aris- 
totle's treatises almost without exception. But the 
^ UU. p. 45. 2 Book of the Universal Kirk, p. 306. 


lists are a remarkable illustration of the mediaeval 
penuriousness in libraries. Each scholar amassed his 
own stock with pain and privation while printing was 
unknown. And long after printed books were avail- 
able, college libraries grew largely by gifts from 
departing alumni (who had " no further use " for 
books), or by legacies such as that of Buchanan. On 
such slender provision the sixteenth century scholar 
acquired a learning to which few moderns attain. 

Melville himself produced no books either at 
Glasgow or at St. Andrews. He was a born teacher 
rather than a writer. Besides, he gave his best as 
table-talk, and in dexterous Latin verses.^ To the 
Glasgow period belongs not one of his printed 
effusions ; for the earliest {Carmen Mosis, Basileae, 
1573) is dated while he was still in Geneva. James 
Melville no doubt records in 1578 the dedication by 
his uncle to the king of the Song of Moses, with 
certain epigrams and a chapter of Job in Latin verse. 
It may therefore be inferred that the Carmen Mosis 
had been revised, and reissued in Scotland along with 
the version of Job, chap, iii., and some such epigrams 
as the following (to be found in the Delitiae poetarum 
Scotorum hujus aevi illustr'tum^ II. 108 sqq. ed. 

Ad novissimos Galliae martyres, 1572. 
Gasper Colinus, Galliarum Thaliarcha. 
Mariae Reginae Scotorum Epitaphium (two "epigrams"). 
In Missam (on the Mass), 4 epigrams. 
Ad Regem de Buchanani Historia. 
Ad G. Buchananum (2). 

iSee Melville's Diary, p. 63, where the nephew accounts for 
his uncle's neglect of authorship. "There are plenty of scribblers 
and would-be authors," Melville would say. 

GLASGOW (i 574-1 580) 53 

What others were included cannot be settled until a 
copy of this Glasgow booklet shall be found. ^ The 
"epigram" at this period was not confined to spor- 
tive or satirical themes, as may be seen in the two 
dexterous pieces (styled more distinctively epi- 
taphium) on the Queen of Scots. The ingenious 
editor, Arthur Johnston, includes them under the 
common description of epigrammata. They are very 
finished examples of Melville's verse, and not less of 
his versatility. The tragic Queen is supposed to 
speak them herself, and thereby the poet escapes 
many snares, and is able to give a picture entirely 
majestic. He does not indeed escape his inveterate 
tendency to punning, even at the most delicate 
moment of the Queen's career — 

Et nunc cervice securim 
Accipio secura . . . 

she declaims — as if she said — 

And now upon my neck the stroke 
I take, my soul unstruck. 

Few lines tell more in less space than the second 
epitaph on the Queen — 

Regibus orta auxi rages, reginaque vixi, 

Ter nupta, et tribus orba viris, tria regna reliqui : 

Gallus opes, Scotus cunas habet, Angla sepulchrum. 

Sprung from a line of kings, kings grew from me, 
Thrice wed, thrice widowed, I left kingdoms three ; 
France has my wealth, my cradle's with the Scot, 
My grave was all the Englishwoman got ! 2 

1 There is a copy extant ; see M'Crie's Melville, p. 40, note. 

2 See Delitiae poetarum Scotorum II. p. 112. 


It is in such learned trifling that we catch a glimpse 
of the real Andrew Melville. The picture drawn by 
Dr. M'Crie is on the whole too austere. We must 
rather conjure up a little, black-haired, somewhat 
meagre Scotsman, high-coloured and restless, with 
much of the French bonhomie and quickness of wit, 
a mimic and a versifier, with a passionate and tragic 
temperament beneath his resolute gaiety : one who, 
delicate and timid in his orphaned childhood, forward 
and impetuous in manhood, (hasty is the Scots word 
for this sort), solicited alike anger and affection, and 
though often and eagerly braving death was never 
once assailed in a murderous time. He was the 
familiar type of Scot who is never so well in health as 
when he is fighting — the Alan Breck of Stevenson. 
M'Crie himself was forced to notice this quality of 
incorrigible gaiety — rehus in arduis} Melville's 
cheerfulness was in inverse ratio to the success of his 
party. He was a scholarly Mark Tapley (never so 
happy as when he ought to have been miserable). 
One of his biographers makes a sort of apology for 
his apparent levity at the solemn conference regarding 
the restoration of prelates in parliament in 1598. 
The question of a distinctive name came up ; " call 
them ima-KOTTovi if you like," said Melville ; " but let 
it be with a little eke (addition), aWoTpioeTria-KOTrovf, 
unless they shrink from such company as Peter speaks 
of in Peter I. cap. 4, viz. murderers, thieves, and 
malefactors! " Afterwards Melville chuckled over 
his quip — " Verily gossip Andrew at the baptism (if 
so I dare jest with that word) was not a little vogie 
(proud) for getting of the bairn's name! " Mr. 
1 M'Crie's I«>, p. 333. 

GLASGOW (i 574-1 580) 55 

Morison, upon this, says we must " take into account 
the spirit almost of glee with which he fought * the 
good fight.' " ^ I think he is right. But it was a 
glee which needs no apology from those who know 
the type of Scotsman, especially in Church matters, 
who leaves the battle-ground of controversy in perfect 
good humour whether beaten or victorious. He has 
had "a run for his money." Such was Andrew 
Melville, through a somewhat stormy life. Such he 
remained till his death in a foreign land. Indeed, he 
was at his cheeriest in his long exile. 

As we leave him at the end of his Glasgow period, 
we feel sure he had enjoyed the task set him, of re- 
arranging the College course, and of withstanding to 
the face those who set good discipline at nought. 
But Glasgow did not afford him sufficient scope for 
his peculiar gift of cheerfulness amid contention. 
We must now briefly trace his steps to a more pro- 
mising region, in which he revelled amid storm and 
stress for six and twenty years. 

III. St. Andrews (i 581-1606) 

In October, 1 580, the King presented Melville to the 
office of Principal of the New College (or St. Mary's), 
St. Andrews, an office which he held for twenty-six 
years. During all that time he took his share of the 
teaching as Professor of Divinity, except for 1584-6 
when a refligee in England. It is as Principal of St! 
Mary's that he must go down in history. The fullest 
part of his active life, also, was lived during the St. 

^Morism^ndretv MehWe, in Famous Scots Series, p io8 
f^osnp at the baptism = %^oa%or. Kimmr^midwift. 


Andrews epoch. As, however, the main interest for 
the present work is his Glasgow epoch, only the briefest 
review is possible of his labours at the Fifeshire College. 
Melville's chance of distinction as a theologian 
came while he was in Glasgow, and was perforce sacri- 
ficed for his lifelong polemic against Episcopacy. 
The chance never recurred, although the King's policy 
more than once sent him into retirement. In 1584, 
for example, he had to escape from imprisonment, 
and, along with several colleagues in the same dis- 
tress, he spent some time at Berwick, visiting also 
London, Oxford, and Cambridge. Again, in 1597, 
the King descended on Melville's eyrie, and held a 
royal visitation of St. Andrews University, of which 
Melville was Rector or Chief Functionary ; on this 
occasion, Melville was ejected from the Rectorship, 
and professors of theology were excluded from sitting 
in the Courts of the Church, unless duly elected by 
the University. As Melville had already been dis- 
charged from preaching except in Latin, he was now 
pretty fully shut off from ecclesiastical politics, and 
might have devoted his entire time to theological 
study and authorship. Another man, with another 
kind of temperament, would have done so. It is a 
verifiable fact that no theological professor in Scotland 
has done permanent scientific work who threw himself 
into the debates of Church Courts, and the intrigues 
of ecclesiastical life. But Melville liked the latter 
too much to resist his temperament. Moreover, 
there was a call of duty. The struggle against 
Episcopacy in its two forms, the Tulchan or pseudo- 
episcopate and the prelatic, was to him no mere con- 
tention for power and property. He was singularly 

ST. ANDREWS (i 581-1606) 57 

free from ambition. From the first he had, h'lce 
Knox, refused to be episcopated, and his Nolo was a 
literal and final rejection of place and wealth. He 
never became a "church-leader," although he has 
almost always been so described. He jealously kept 
himself free from the official cage into which so many 
of his early friends were lured by the craft and 
chicanery of the King. His public appearances for 
the cause of Presbytery were from the beginning 
involuntary and often unexpected. He is more like 
the ancient prophet emerging from his seclusion to 
hurl denunciation and protest, than the deliberate 
Church politician. And he was accordingly beaten 
at every important point. The episcopising went 
steadily on before his eyes, until the royal command 
made him first an unwilling guest, then a prisoner, 
and finally for long years an exile. It is not without 
a pathetic significance that he ended his days at Sedan. 
His public life was a succession of Sedans. His 
happiest times had been while he was a wandering 
student, or perhaps in the kindly Genevan academy ; 
and afterwards when he went back to France and 
became an onlooker. This is not to say that he was 
ever wholly unhappy, since he lacked the tempera- 
ment of the hypochondriac. But while he remained 
in his native land, he was driven into controversy by 
a deep sense of national duty. He honestly believed, 
as did Knox, and many others, that Episcopacy was 
unscriptural, unwholesome in its effects on the 
Church, fundamentally at variance with the Reformed 
doctrine,^ and destructive of national freedom. There 

^ The Arminian tendencies of Episcopacy created a gulf between 
it and the Reformers. 


is no manner of doubt that he was ready to give his 
life in the argument. More than once his life was 
in danger. 

We must take human nature as we find it. Mel- 
ville enjoyed his life, yet at the same time he had a 
profound love of truth and of his country. He 
never indeed let himself go like Knox ; but in his 
cheery optimistic way he did much to hearten the 
men who were yet to purge the national Zion. Per- 
haps he was better thus occupied than if he had 
<:ompiled heavy folios. 

In St. Andrews, at any rate, he was at home. He 
lived in his own college amid familiar scenes. He 
had already, in 1578, done much to reform the 
University, and though the Church's scheme was 
never fully carried out, he took up the work at St. 
Mary's under fairly distinct arrangements, which 
made it the Theological Hall par excellence of the 
University. The other two colleges, St. Salvator's 
and St. Leonard's, continued very much on their old 
lines, offering the complete round of philosophical 
knowledge as then conceived. In St. Mary's, the 
critical philosophy of Ramus was applied to clear up 
Aristotle, while the study of the sacred tongues 
received a new impetus. Meantime, the Archbishops 
came and went. Adamson, however, had no suc- 
cessor for the time Melville remained at St. Andrews. 
It was not till Melville had gone for ever from St. 
Mary's in 1606 that Gladstanes came upon the scene. 

What sort of work went on in St. Mary's.? At 
the outset, a number of foreign students came to sit 
at Melville's feet, and this influx from abroad con- 
tinued till he left. They came from France, Belgium, 

ST. ANDREWS (1581-1606) 59 

Germany, Poland, Prussia, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, 
Holland and Switzerland — an extraordinary area of 
influence. There were two reasons for this influx, 
the first being the scarcity of Reformed teachers 
abroad, the second, Melville's own reputation which 
had already passed, by way of scholar refugees and 
others, from Geneva to the various countries of 
Europe affected by the Reformation. It is note- 
worthy that no Spaniard appears in the list nor any 
Russian. Melville, aided by his nephew James and 
other like-minded regents, gave these foreigners what 
they could not so well get elsewhere, a system of 
doctrine of the Calvinistic pattern combined with a 
training in oriental languages. If we are inclined to 
depreciate Melville as a theologian because of his 
unproductiveness, at least we must acknowledge his 
exceptional gifts as a linguist. Knowledge of the 
sacred tongues was eagerly coveted by the Reformers. 
And Melville by all accounts was an orientalist of 
unusual skill. It is probable that this, rather than his 
fame as a theologian in the modern restricted sense, 
drew students from such distances. The idea of 
learning as a trade-secret was far from being exploded. 
Melville and his staff had the secret of tongues. 
The pre-eminent interest of oriental languages con- 
tinued in Glasgow up to the time of Burnet. It had 
reached its height when Robert Baillie made it the 
paramount concern of his chair. The unquestioning 
reliance on Scripture as infallible and inerrant begot 
this passion for the original languages of the Bible. 
To retrieve the ipsissima verba was to achieve a 
triumph over the Papalists, who mostly relied on the 
Vulgate. After the Authorised Version of 161 1 


appeared, there was a sensible decrease in the enthusiasm. 
And the day came when Boston had to teach himself 
Hebrew, and to discover the infallibility of the accents. 

Our own time is witnessing a revival of this 
interest from a rather altered standpoint. Biblical 
scholars are working night and day to ascertain the 
text, not only by the ordinary tests, but also by 
psychological methods which never occurred to Mel- 
ville's age. At the back of those methods is a new 
and higher conception of the Bible, as being not a 
collection of Sibylline oracles, but a swelling tide of 
religious passion and of truths that have come out 
of the deepest and purest in man, and have spoken to 
the deepest and purest of each age. It seems likely 
that orientalism will have its turn in our theological 
schools, and that systematic doctrine may continue 
for a time under a shadow. 

Melville at St. Andrews appealed to the modernists 
of his time everywhere. He was if not an anti- 
Aristotelian, at least a neo-Aristotelian. He was a 
bold expositor of Scripture, giving back the key of 
knowledge which the unreformed Church had with- 
held. He shewed no mercy to the Papalists, and 
scrupled not to demolish the results of centuries by 
his appeal to Scripture. This was aptly illustrated in 
his attack on Diocesan Episcopacy.^ His studies had 
first been directed to the subject in his second year at 
Glasgow, by a motion or overture in the Assembly 
from John Dury. Mr. Morison says " there is little 
doubt that it originated with Melvile " ; ^ but if 
Melville's influence was so great, as this implies, he 

1 Melville made no attack on Episcopacy of the Pauline order. 

* Morison, Andrew Melville, in Famous Scots Series, p. 36. 

ST. ANDREWS (158 1-1606) 61 

would have brought forward the motion himself. 
The decisions of the Assembly on the point of Epis- 
copacy took shape in the Second Book of Discipline, 
which was the work of a large and representative 
committee and not in any sense of Melville alone. 
But the almost accidental diversion of Melville's 
energies to ecclesiastical controversies revealed what 
a power his modernism could be in advancing the 
Presbyterian cause. Such a master of the sacred 
oracles could hardly be withstood by any one on the 
Episcopal side. Melville undoubtedly was prota- 
gonist in this contest, which appealed to his scholarly 
instincts as well as to his love of truth. He never 
afterwards escaped from the arena, until his exile 
abroad set him free. 

At first, the new light was welcomed by all except 
obstinate Papists, a number of whom still kept a 
stout grip on Scotland. The very Archbishop (Tul- 
chan) of St. Andrews proffered an emotional assent 
to articles which condemned all bishops as unscrip- 
tural. This gentleman was Patrick Constance, Con- 
stantine, or Adamson. " Mr. Patrik Adamsone 
called Bischope," is James Melville's description of 
him. He owed some thanks to Andrew Melville for 
the approval of his poem on Job ; and when the 
former came to St. Andrews, Adamson gave him a 
warm welcome. So curious was the position that the 
nephew tells how his vincle borrowed a good horse 
from the Bishop in order to attend the 1581 Assem- 
bly in which the office of Bishops, " as they war 
mentioned," was judged damnable.^ Ingenuous 

1 Melville's Diary, p. 87. No doubt, the word is used as equal 
to the phrase "deserving condemnation." 


simplicity could no further go. It was this same 
bishop who only two years later framed the Articles 
sent to the Churches of Geneva, Tigurie (= Zurich) 
and others, stoutly asserting diocesan episcopacy. 
These articles, however, never came out of Adam- 
son's brain ; they are too able and even witty an 
assault on presbytery to be entirely his. The hand 
of the young king, perchance of the English arch- 
bishops to whom Adamson presented them, may be 

Melville's public career from this point falls easily 
into four periods : 

I. The first exile (1584-158 6). At the end of 
1583 or beginning of 1584, Melville's energetic 
attack on episcopacy and the alleged royal supremacy 
culminated in a sermon at St. Andrews for which he 
was summoned before the Privy Council. He was 
ordered into prison, but escaped to Berwick, whither 
he was soon followed by his nephew and several others 
of the active Presbyterian party. James Melville's 
story of his own voyage in an open boat while fleeing 
from the city is one of the best and most vivid in 
all his Diary.^ The declaration of the Royal 
Supremacy was made formally in May, 1584, and 
there followed the establishment of episcopal juris- 
diction. In virtue of this, Adamson, archbishop of 
St. Andrews, took the step of suppressing theological 
classes at St. Mary's. This would not of course 
affect the teaching at St. Leonard's. St. Mary's had 
become the haunt of the Presbyterian students ; St. 
Leonard's was still the nursing mother of the pre- 
latists. Melville did not stay long in Berwick. He 
1 Melville's Diary, pp. 167-170. 

ST. ANDREWS (i 581-1606) 63 

made his way to London, and like Adamson before 
him and James Sharp after, did a little canvassing at 
court. His ties were naturally closest with the Puri- 
tan party there. He lectured on Genesis, mostly to 
his fellow-exiles, in the chapel of the Tower, which, 
like Westminster Abbey, was independent of epis- 
copal control. One imagines how puzzled the 
Londoners must have been, confronted by two men 
so different as Adamson and Melville, both professing 
to represent Scottish churchmanship. The banish- 
ment of the " peregrine " ministers ceased on the 
change of advisers to the king in Scotland, and 
Melville found himself restored to his work at St. 
Mary's in October, 1586, after something like three 
years' absence. 

2. The Ten Tears'' Favour (i 586-1 596). On his 
return, Melville found himself in the sunshine of 
royal favour. The paedagogic side of the king re- 
appeared. His Majesty was ever fond of scholars, 
and Melville was both scholar and good comrade. 
Thus in 1590, the king commanded him to produce 
the laureate's ode on the royal marriage ; and the 
Stephaniskion survives as the result. To Melville 
also fell the honour of reciting his poem at the coro- 
nation in the chapel of Holyroodhouse, and he 
received lavish praise from the royal lips, and much 
fame among European scholars. The poem, as it 
appears in the Delitiae, does not seem to merit the 
extravagant compliments paid it by the two greatest 
Latinists of that time, Lipsius and Scaliger. The 
festive enthusiasm of the honeymoon may explain 
the king's praises ; for those two scholars, we may 


offer the perhaps damaging extenuation that some- 
thing like " log-rolling " prevailed at this time in the 
fraternity of learning. But Melville was at any rate 
in high court favour. The king paid a visit to St. 
Andrews, and behaved most condescendingly. In 
1590, Melville was chosen Rector. In 1592, the 
Charter of Presbytery was ratified in full. It is true 
there were occasional " tiffs " with the Court. The 
position of Rector also involved some serious calls on 
Melville's courage and wit. His experience in 
Glasgow served him well on such occasions, and St. 
Andrews never had a stronger ruler. He was not 
much vexed by episcopal interference, anomalous as the 
posture of affairs was, with bishops and archbishops 
of undefined authority but limitless claims. For one 
thing, the title was a legal fiction. The archbishop 
or bishop remained a simple presbyter in the Church ; 
and, quoad sacra, he was relegated to his order as a 
presbyter either qua pastor of a fixed congregation, 
or as a "ruling elder" (to use the modern phrase). 
Thus John Douglas, while archbishop, appears also as 
an elder of the Church in the annual list for 1570 
(October 13),^ in company with others, both preachers 
and laymen. It is true that his successor, Adamson, 
was not thus honoured. But Melville appears at the 
head of the list very soon after Adamson's death, and 
there was practically no archbishop again while Mel- 
ville remained in St. Andrews. The situation was 
somewhat peculiar, and had manifest marks of insta- 
bility. Bishops were meanwhile tolerated and 
ignored. The Act of 1592 seemed to render them 
harmless. It was not till 1596, which James Melville 
^ Register of St. Andrews Kirk Session, I. 34.2. 

ST. ANDREWS (i 581-1606) 65 

calls the " periodic or fatal year," that the king's mind 
returned definitely to the policy of episcopal restora- 
tion. A series of fifty-five questions on the subject 
was issued by royal authority, and a convention of 
Estates with a meeting of the General Assembly was 
called for February. It was to meet at Perth. This 
ended Melville's time of comparative peace. It 
closed also a period which Principal Lee describes as 
" the era of the greatest purity which this National 
Church ever attained. . . . Whoever wishes to 
study the true genius of the Presbyterian system of 
discipline ought to attend particularly to this interval 
of its ascendancy, from 1592 to 1596."^ This verdict 
is not universally accepted even hy Presbyterians, for 
the " Golden Age of Presbytery " is usually assigned 
to a much later period, from 1638 to 1649. In either 
case, it is noteworthy that Presbytery's times of com- 
plete ascendancy were but brief — five years in the 
sixteenth centiuy, twelve years in the seventeenth. 
The rest is a story of constant struggle against secret 
Romanising forces,^ until the expulsion of the Stuarts 
in 1689 brought the final triumph of religious and 
civil liberty. 

3. The Ten Tears' Conflict (1596 to 1606). The 
General Assembly of Perth in 1597 and its successor 
at Dundee in 1598 practically completed the over- 
throw of the Presbyterian party. At Perth, the royal 
supremacy was more fully defined, and the ministers 
were prohibited from preaching politics. At Dundee, 

^ Lee, History of the Church of Scotland, II. izi. 
* See Historic Significance of Episcopacy in Scotland, Lee Lecture for 
1899, pp. 5, 20, 26. 


a sort of High Commission, or Council of Ministers 
to advise with the king, was set up at the king's 
desire. Melville was constantly excluded from a seat 
in the Assembly, though he was doctor of theology. 
If ever he had been " leader of the Church " (which 
is somewhat doubtful), he now ceased to be more 
than an outside expert. The leadership had fallen 
to others more pliable and perhaps less keen for pres- 
bytery. Still, he fought with his pen, dealing 
trenchantly with James's " Basilicon Doron ■" in 1599. 
He was practically silenced as a preacher, and even 
(in 1600) interned within the precincts of St. Mary's 
College. In spite of all, he rejoiced with others at 
James's accession to the English throne, though he 
might well have guessed that it meant death to Pres- 
byterian government. He even composed odes in 
James's honour. This is consistent with the mingling 
of good humour and asperity in the relations between 
the king and the scholar. But the rejoicings were 
soon turned into mourning. The climax of the long 
struggle was reached in 1605 when an Assembly met 
in Aberdeen without the royal summons, and set the 
king's messenger at defiance. Melville publicly pro- 
tested with others against the measures of discipline 
taken against the members of this Assembly. The 
response was an order from the king to attend, along 
with his nephew and six other protesters, at London 
before September 15, 1606. 

4. The Second Exile (1606-1622). The forlorn 
band of Scottish ministers headed by Melville in- 
cluded his nephew, William Scot, minister of Cupar, 
John Carmichael of Kilconquhar, William Watson of 

ST. ANDREWS (i 581- 1606) 67 

Burntisland, James Balfour of Edinburgh, Adam 
Colt of Musselburgh, and Robert Wallace of Tra- 
nent. They reached London as appointed, and were 
received by His Majesty on three several days at 
Hampton Court. Then followed the fatal day to 
Melville, September 29, 1606, when along with his 
brethren he was commanded to attend service at the 
Chapel Royal. It was a Monday and St. Michael's 
day. There was such a crowd that the Secretary 
brought them in by secret ways. They viewed with 
uneasiness " the altar, quhilk wes decorit with two 
bukes, two basines with two candlestickes." One of 
the Cointe de Vaudemont's company, a " German," 
remarked audibly — " Ego nunquam vidi talem cul- 
tum ! Nihil hie profecto deest de solenni missa, praeter 
adorationem transubstantialis panis!" The service 
formed a climax to a series of sermons by the fore- 
most English divines, designed to enlighten the 
Scottish preachers ; we can understand how Andrew 
Melville's quick temper broke down under the strain. 
He perpetrated his last epigram on English soil,^ and 
his unluckiest from the Court standpoint. It came 
from him red-hot : 

Cur stant clausi Anglis libri duo Regia in ara, 
Lumina caeca duo, pollubra sicca duo ? 

Num sensum cultumque Dei tenet Anglia clausum, 
Lumine caeca suo, sorde sepulta sua, 

Romano et ritu, Regalem dum instruit aram, 
Purpuream pingit religiosa lupam ? 

Two volumes closed, two lamps unlit, two bowls unfilled. 
Stand on the altar of the King j 

1 Not his last, if we reckon the prison verses ; see infi-a, p. 70. 


Is it that Englishmen in truth are kept unskilled, 

In filth and blindness weltering ? 
And have they Rome-wise thus the royal altar laid 
With superstitious zeal to deck a Purple Jade? ^ 

It seems but a small offence to the modern mind. 
The offence to the mind of James was unpardonable ; 
and he committed the epigram.matist to the custody 
of the Dean of St. Paul's, in order that the Dean 
might bring him to conformity — a serious task for 
the English dignitary! Melville proved obdurate, 
and after several fresh efforts, the king had him 
lodged in the Tower. It was no unfamiliar place to 
him, for he had preached in the Chapel there a quarter 
of a century before. Meantime, the principalship of 
St. Mary's was declared vacant. Ere long. La 
Rochelle gave him a call to its divinity professorship ; 
but the negotiations failed. Later, in 1611, he was 
permitted to accept a similar appointment in the 
university of Sedan, whither he went, from the Tower 
water-gate, on April 19. 

Thus departed out of Scotland one of her brightest 
and most humane scholars, who even amid contro- 
versies won the liking and reluctant admiration of 
all. There is much charm in the anecdotes preserved 
by the Diarist of the five years, more or less, spent 
in London. The English dignitaries were plainly 
embarrassed when the king entrusted this strange 
Scots scholar to them for instruction. James Mel- 
ville, in a letter to Sir Anthony Ashley, declares that 
to become a "domestic " to a Bishop in England was 
a harder punishment than imprisonment or banish- 

ijames Melville's translation, and another (which evidently 
reads an for et) will be found in the Diary, pp. 682, 683, note. 

ST. ANDREWS (1581-1606) 69 

ment ; but it was no less hard a punishment for the 
bishop ! The bishop of Durham shewed his distress 
by making a " sillie and confuseit " excuse.^ He 
had no room, without turning out one of his gentle- 
men : the minister's " man " would have to share the 
chamber of that gentleman's " man " ; and " some 
such triflings." The most delightful episode of all 
is that of the Archbishop (Bancroft), a manifest man 
of the world, and a thorough humorist, who closed a 
debate with James Melville and Mr. William Scot 
by smilingly interrupting the latter in the middle of 
a long harangue, clapping him meanwhile on the arm, 
"Tush, man! Tak heir a coupe of guid seek 
(sack)." At the same time. His Grace filled the cup, 
and holding the napkin in his hand made the two 
grave divines take off their sack. It was the act of 
a servant waiting on his masters. It was perhaps, in 
its way, sacramental.^ Another episode, which 
mingles laughter with tears, is that of the last dinner 
of the two Melvilles before the senior was sent to 
the Tower. It is a good picture of the Scots manners 
of this time. Waiting for his summons to the Coun- 
cil, Andrew Melville had had a " meditation " on the 
second Psalm. This he gave his friends at table 
when they had wearied of waiting. It was a foggy 
Sunday morning : their dinner was at noon ; they 
had not half dined when a messenger came. Melville 
snapped out — "Sir, I waited long upon my Lord's 
dinner till I waxed very hungry and could not stay 
(wait) longer. I pray my Lord to suffer me to take 
a little of my own dinner! " Shortly after came a 
second messenger, and on his heels the Scottish 
^Melville's Diary, pp. 689, 693. ^ Diary, p. 700. 


Secretary. Then Melville rose in much excitement 
and prayed, and so left his friends about twelve 
o'clock. And about three o'clock they knew that he 
had been taken straight from the Council chamber to 
the Tower. His friends took boat, but were too late 
to see him ere the door closed on the prisoner. 

The faithful nephew sent in furniture and clothes, 
with his uncle's books, to the Tower ; and by favour 
of a gaoler he was able to talk to his uncle at the 
window for a little every day. He obtained leave 
for Melville's servant to live in the prison, and he 
supplied funds out of his own poverty. But he had 
at last to go into internment at Newcastle. After his 
departure, the treatment of Andrew Melville became 
stricter ; he was deprived of his servant, saw no one 
except the gaoler, and was denied writing materials. 
This did not prevent him from inscribing on the wall 
with the tongue of his shoe-buckle various poetical 
effusions. Some were preserved and are quoted by 
M'Crie.^ But after the first year, these rigours were 
relaxed ; and Melville enjoyed every privilege con- 
sistent with his confinement. He was permitted to 
see some of his fellow-prisoners, among whom was 
Sir Walter Raleigh. And he carried on a free and 
copious correspondence, which kept him informed as 
to the progress of events. He started a treatise on 
the great controversy. Episcopacy versus Presbytery, 
and he held discourse with many interesting visitors 
from the outside. His constant hope was to regain 
freedom and return to the fray which raged in Scot- 
land. But as time passed, that hope died. He saw 
a new world arising which he could not have endured. 
iM'Crie's Melville, p. 282, note. 

ST. ANDREWS (i 581- 1606) 71 

Scotland had meantime submitted to prelacy ; some 
even of his own students were among its supporters. 
Robert Howie was doing well enough as Principal 
of St. Mary's, and his own nephew James was not 
afraid to send one of his sons to be colleged there. 
Then Melville began to think of emigrating. A 
friend of his was organising an expedition to the New 
World. Melville might have ended in Virginia. 
But the project passed, and when at last the call from 
Sedan came^ he accepted it after a struggle. Money 
was found to help him out to his new home. It was 
just in time, for Melville was ageing, and had con- 
tracted the low fever of confinement. The letters 
exchanged at this time between uncle and nephew 
are without exception the best, both for Latinity and 
for genuine pathos, in the entire collection. Melville 
had written to his nephew, intimating the call to 
France and shewing how depressed he was by the 
prospect of banishment. But there was no hope at 
home. " There is no room for me in Britain on 
account of pseudo-episcopacy. . . . Our bishops 
return home after being anointed with the waters of 
the Thames. Alas! liberty is fled, religion is 
banished. . . . Shall I fly from my native country, 
from my native church, from my very self.'' Or, 
shall I deliver myself up, like a bound quadruped, 
to the will and pleasure of men.'' . . . Shall I go, 
or shall I remain .'' " 

There is evidence in such language that Melville 
had been approached by the Court with a view to his 
accepting the status quo in Scotland, and lending his 
influence to Episcopal uniformity. His spirit was 
in fact somewhat broken by confinement. The 


nephew's answer was prompt and decisive. " So far 
as I can see," he writes to his uncle, " there is no 
choice left, but a hard necessity is imposed on you." 
He even begs him to use his influence to procure 
for himself a similar invitation to a pastorate or chair 
in France. His young wife (he had married again 
in 1 6 1 1 a lady of nineteen) was equally anxious to 
accompany the exile. She had sought to propitiate Mel- 
ville (for he had discouraged the match) by " a small 
present, consisting of an embroidered cloak, a necker- 
chief, and some other articles, trimmed by her own 
hands. Have you received them ? " Then abruptly 
he adds — " I know not how it is, but my soul fails 
and melts within me and the tears rush into my eyes 
at the thought, of which I cannot get rid, that I shall 
see your face no more. . . . Would to God you 
had long ago closed my eyes at Montrose. I can 
write no more. Eternal blessings rest on you." 

The uncle's farewell is no less pathetic — " My dear 
son, my dear James, farewell, farewell in the Lord, 
with your sweet Melissa.^ I must now go to other 
climes ... it behoved me to confess Christ on a 
larger theatre." He gives directions for the careful 
preservation of his library, dedicated like himself to 
the Church. ... " The vessel is under weigh, and 
I am called aboard. The grace of God be with you 
always." ^ 

James Melville died three years after. Thus this 
pair of devoted friends were defeated and broken- 
hearted, and the cause of the bishops had apparently 

1 The name by which James styled his second wife. Her actual 
name was Deborah. 

2 See M'Crie's Melville, pp. 314, 319. 

ST. ANDREWS (158 1- 1606) 73 

triumphed. Whatever views may be held on the 
merits of the case, no one will withhold his sympathy 
from two men who were the Paul and Timothy of 
their day, knit so closely to each other alike by blood, 
by loyalty to a common cause, by a scholarship of the 
finest type, and by a simple humanness which no 
classical pedantries can conceal. Scotland is proud of 
the two Melvilles. St. Andrews can never cease to 
remember them, and Andrew Melville belongs to her 
far more than to Glasgow. But in Glasgow too there 
remain forces which, if he did not originate them, he 
at any rate rendered permanent — the love of the 
Humanities, the instinct of academic fellowship and 
common research, the zeal for Presbyterian govern- 
ment as the guardian of freedom in Church and 
State, the dislike of clerical pretension, and the sense 
of the dignity of the scholar and master. 

But meantime, Melville's place knew him no more. 
St. Andrews, which had seen his triumphs, was ere 
long to see the base ascendancy of a far different 
being, James Sharp. 

IV. Sedan (1611-1622) 

Some space must be allotted, in this already lengthy 
monograph, to the Sedan period of Melville, if only 
because recent research by M. Paul Mellon has made 
new particulars available.^ Melville was at first 
sadly disappointed. The number of his students was 
smaller than he had expected. Sedan had little more 
than 100 students, while at Saumur, a great resort 
of Scotsmen, there were more than 400. He there- 
'See Revue Chretienne, 1907, pp. loi and 202. 


fore accepted provisionally the post of instructor to 
the three sons of M. de Barsac, Treasurer of the 
Parliament of Dauphine, and spent a short time with 
them at Grenoble. Apparently he did not like the 
situation there, and he returned to Sedan. There it 
it is alleged by Spottiswood that " he lived in no great 
respect, and contracting the gout, lay almost bedfast 
to his death." The small modicum of truth in this 
statement is that Melville had certainly left his prison 
much enfeebled, and subject to severe attacks of 
rheumatism. He was nearing his seventieth year. 
" Am I not threescore and eight years old," he writes 
to Robert Durie in 1612, "unto the which age none 
of my fourteen brothers came.? And yet I thank 
God, I eat, I drink, I sleep as well as I did these 
thirty years bygone, and better than when I was 
younger. . . . Neither use I spectacles now more 
than ever ; yea, I use none at all nor ever did, and 
see now to read Hebrew without points and in the 
smallest characters." It is little wonder that he found 
himself unable to attempt any important literary task. 
His only sustained effort was the De Adiaphoris, if 
indeed it be his. The title Scoti rov Tv^ovTOi 
Aphorismi leaves a certain doubt, since the other 
work ascribed to this period, the Scoti rov tuj^oj-to? 
Paraclesis contra Dan. Tileni Silesii Paraenesin, is nov/ 
finally identified as the composition of Sir James 
Sempill of Beltrees. This recent conclusion was anti- 
cipated by Dr. M'Crie, who gave decisive argu- 
ments.-^ In any case, as has already been pointed 
out,^ Melville never was a writer of books. There 
is no evidence of his ability to write a formal treatise. 
1 M'Crie's Melville, p. 339, notes. "^ Supra, p. 47. 

SEDAN (1611-1622) 75 

At a much later date, another of our Glasgow Divinity 
professors offered an explanation of his own unpro- 
ductiveness.^ It is quite possible therefore that 
Spottiswood's rather unkind remark may not be un- 
founded in so far as Melville's literary exertions were 
concerned. But that he was held in the highest 
respect as a scholar has been amply proved by the 
Latin verses unearthed by M. Paul Mellon in the 
articles already referred to. 

M. Mellon has translated a series of Latin verses 
written by Arthur Johnston, the editor of the Delitiae 
in 1637, then professor of logic and metaphysics at 
Sedan in succession to John Cameron. These verses 
are no doubt phrased with an excessive measure of 
academic hyperbole. In them the Sun, in its journey 
southward, learns of Melville's approach, and hastens 
to return to Sedan in order to meet and hail this other 
luminary! Scotland, herself enveloped in widespread 
darkness and in a night like that of Erebus, brings us 
bright day, for it brings us Melville ! Melville is a 
sun, and Tilenus is a sun ; yet are they not two suns, 
but one in spirit! The youth of France raise cries 
of joy, Salut a Melvin! Aeneas, that Cytherean 
hero, transferred Troy to Latium ; but Melville has 
transported Latium to Sedan! 

The same remarkable "respect," amounting to 
obsequiousness, appears in certain verses by Daniel 
Tilenus, a professor at Sedan, which M. Paul Mellon 
has rescued. Tilenus is building himself a cottage, 
and sings of the peace which he expects to find in 
retiring to it after a life of agitation. He devotes to 

^ This was James Wodrow ; see his Life, by R. Wodrow, 
PP- 133 W- 


this theme no less than loo strophes, in several of 
which Melville is mentioned with overpowering 
praise. He summons MelviUe, Donaldson, John- 
ston, and Capellus, all of them his colleagues at Sedan, 
to aid his muse, faire I'office de sage-femme. Where 
shall he find the mille boisseaux de sel to discharge his 
gouty feet, unless from Melville and his colleagues? 
With their aid, the salines de Bilbilis (even Martial's 
wit) could not give a higher seasoning! Melville's 
vein, he chants in another strophe, is more abundant 
than the waters of Aganippe ; Melville's Melpomene 
is sweet as honey and possesses a Homeric trumpet! 
In a third, he declares that while he would fain chant 
the ramparts of Sedan, he m.ust be content to sing of 
his humble cottage, since only Melville's muse can 
celebrate the former. 

M. Mellon rightly characterises the taste of these 
bombastic verses as doubtful. But they help to 
dispose of Spottiswood's unkind suggestion that 
Melville at Sedan enjoyed but little "respect." It 
is true that Sedan espoused the Calvinistic cause in 
the controversy occasioned by Arminius of I^eyden ; 
and that the "new theology" was not taught by 
Melville and his colleagues. It found its home 
rather at the rival Protestant Academie of Saumur, 
where Cameron, Amyraut, Louis Cappel, and Joshua 
de la Place manufactured heresies which in more 
than one case found permanent nooks in the history 
of doctrine. Cameron was destined later to be pro- 
fessor of Divinity in Glasgow, but only for a single 
session : he had left Sedan to go to Saumur ; and he 
left Glasgow to go to Montauban. Saumur drew 
many students from Sedan, attracted by the new 

SEDAN (1611-1622) 77 

teaching. No doubt Melville was pronounced an 
obscurantist, an old-fashioned teacher, by men of the 
Arminian type like Spottiswood. M. Mellon, how- 
ever, is disposed to attribute the adherence of Sedan 
to Calvinism in its rigidest form, to the proximity of 
the United Provinces, in which the famous Anti- 
Arminian Synod of Dort met in 161 8. Sedan, he 
says, " became the market-place of the pure orthodox 
doctrine, and, in opposition to its rival at Saumur, 
offered the intransigeance of its Calvinistic faith as 
against the broad-church tendencies." ^ It was per- 
haps the "revenges of time" which made Melville 
in his last days appear to many younger men rather 
fossilised in his theology. For had not he been in 
his day a Modernist himself, joining in the boisterous 
assault of Ramus on the old scholasticism ? 

The happy family at Sedan, exchanging not only 
eulogies but also familiar banterings and questionable 
jests,^ was much disturbed by the Arminian contro- 
versy. M. Paul Mellon, however, strongly questions 
the account given by Dr. M'Crie of the relations 
between Melville and his colleague Tilenus. M'Crie 
accepts the statements of the anonymous author of 
the Paraclesis and others, that at an early stage 
Tilenus became Arminian, and tried to make heretics 
of the Sedan students, and that Melville and the 
other professors exposed his duplicity ; in conse- 
quence of which he left the university and went to 
England. M. Mellon disposes of this by shewing 

'^ Revue Chritienne, 1907, p. 205. 

2 See the Delittae, 1637, II. 118 (where Melville rallies 
Tilenus on his gout) and I. 614 {Lusus amoeboei). 


that the two colleagues were on extravagantly friendly 
terms up to 1613, and that as late as 161 7, on the 
eve of the Synod of Dort, they are found giving 
their joint approbation to a thesis on Justification by 
Heinsius. It was improbable that they should think 
alike on such a subject if the one was Calvinistic 
and the other Arminian. Besides, the orthodox 
Dumoulin, who became a professor at Sedan in 1621, 
accepts both Melville and Tilenus as sound authori- 
ties. These seem to M. Mellon strong presumptions 
against any rupture between the two divines ; but it 
must be confessed that they are not difficult to sur- 
mount. The very extravagance of Tilenus, in his 
references to Melville, rouses distrust. And scholars 
of that day were not unaccustomed to give " testi- 
monials " such as both of them sent to Heinsius in 
1 61 7. Besides, the Dort Synod developed many 
latent antagonisms, and it is a fact that Tilenus came 
out boldly on the Arminian side, and in consequence 
sought a more congenial field in England. There 
he published in 1620 his Paraenesis ad Scotos, 
Genevensis disciplinae zelotas. Aiictore Dan. Tileno 
Silesio. As the imprint shows, he was a German. 
He afterwards, in 1622, fired off another shot against 
Presbyterianism, this time in Scotland, addressed ad 
Ecclesiam Scoticam. It is marked by two significant 
features. One is, that it is printed at Aberdeen, by 
that time the stronghold of Episcopal culture. The 
second is, that he withholds his name, substituting 
the phrase, Auctore Gallo quodam theologo, Verhi 
Divini ministro. There is something familiar in 
such tactics, by which the German reappeared as a 
Frenchman, in a land which loved France. 

SEDAN (1611-1622) 79 

At any rate, M. Paul Mellon has done a service to 
Melville by his researches. His theory, amiable 
though perhaps untenable, is that Tilenus and Mel- 
ville remained on friendly terms until the former 
departed from Sedan. Melville, he points out, was 
much of an invalid. The Garreta collection preserves 
a story told by his colleague, J. Capellus, that Melville 
on occasion of illness affixed to the class-room door 
the following : 

(i) Melvinus nequit infirmus pede currere claudo 

Quem podagrae vinctum compede lectus habet. 

(2) Officium ut faciam jubet obsequiosa voluntas ; 

Ne faciam obstat obex, major vis, et dolor ingens. 

These appear to be two separate excuses, and they 
both represent Melville's chronic ill-health. So at 
least thinks M. Paul Mellon. Accordingly he sug- 
gests that Melville, taught by experience, tired in 
body and soul, realising the emptiness of those con- 
troversies which agitate the temper but do no good 
to the soul, kept himself aloof from all that might 
sow discord and division. This would be a pleasing 
result, but that evidence remains of Melville's hatred 
of Arminian views (as in a letter to John Forbes of 
Alford in 1616 or perhaps a year later — "Faill not 
to send Arminius against Perkins de Praedestina- 
tione, whatever it cost, with the contra-poison done be 
[by] Gomarus, ^uem singulariter amo ev Kvpm ").i 

Spottiswood's statement that Melville was a long 

time bedridden seems likely to be correct, and explains 

the stoppage of his letters. It is also probable that 

his mental powers had much failed before death put 

* See M'Crie's Melville, p. 335, note. 


a period to his long illness. No particulars can be 
found of his closing days, and with such ailments he 
was likely to pass away in gradual stupor. He died 
in 1622. Burton in his Anatomy wiU suffice to 
explain why so many scholars and divines of this 
period suffered from gout and gravel. Gout is too 
often supposed to be the special ailment of the rich. 
But it did not spare even a meagre student like 
Melville ; and as for its concomitant, gravel, it was 
the commonest ailment of famous covenanting and 
martyred saints, as the Book of Martyrs and other 
histories will testify. 

Works of Andrew Melville 

M'Crie's list of the works of Melville which were 
printed either during his lifetime or afterwards will 
be found capable of little if any emendation to-day. 
The following, however, is an attempt to supply a 
list brought up to the present time : 

1. Carmen Mosis. Basileae, 1573. 

2. Stephaniskion. Edin. 1590. 

3. Principis Scoto-Britannorum Natalia. Edin. 1594. 

4. Theses Theologicae de libero arbitrio. Edin. 1597. 

5. Gathelus. Amsterdam, 1602. 

6. Pro supplici evangelicorum ministrorum in Anglia . . . 

Apologia, sive Anti-Tami-Cami-Categoria. 1604. 

7. Numerous verses in Carmina ex docthsimis poetis selecta, 

159O; in Vir't clarissimi A. Melv'ini musae, et P. 
Adamsoni vita et palinodia, et Celsae Commissionis 
descriptio, 1620 ; in In Ohitum Johannis Wallasii 
Scoto-Belgae, Ley den, 1 603 ; in Commentarii in Apost. 
Acta M. Joannis Makolmi Scoti, Middelburg, 1615 ; 
and of course in Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum, 
Amsterdam, 1637. 

WORKS 8 1 

8. Select psalms in Latin, />r»^. London, 1609. According 
to M. Paul Mellon, there is no copy extant ; but the 
Garreta collection has versions in MS. of Psalms i, 
2, 16, 36, and 129. They were written in the 

M'Crie includes a pamphlet published in Holland 
in 1 6 1 9, ascribed to Melville both by foreign and by 
Scottish writers, and styled Nescimus quid vesper 
serus vehat: Satyra Menippaea Vincentil Liberii 
HoUandii. There seems little doubt that it is not 
the production of Melville. 

He includes also the tract De Adiaphoris Scoti 
Tov T\r)(ovToi aphorismi, 1622. But this, like the 
Paracksis Scoti tov rv)(ovros, may be the work of 
Sir James Sempill of Beltrees. 

The Melville MSS. as yet unprinted may be 
enumerated as follows : 

1. Letters from Andrew Melville to James Melville, with 

some replies from James Melville, 1609-1611. In 
Edin. University Lib. 

2. Letters from Andrew Melville to .... in the United 

Provinces. Six in number : addressed to R. Dury 
at Leyden. Advocates' Library, Edinburgh. 

3. Paraphrase of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Probably 

composed in the Tower. Harleian MSS. 

4. Melvin on Daniel, chap. 4. Library of Trinity Coll., 


The refutation of Downham's Sermon : the pre- 
lections on the epistle to the Romans, seen by 
Charters in the Glasgow College Library ; and a 
Latin commentary said by Charters to have been in 
the library of the students of Divinity at Edinburgh 
University — have all apparently perished. 



The following is a brief bibliography for the life 
of Melville : 

1. Life. By Dr. Thomas M'Crie. First published in 

1819. The edition used in the foregoing pages is 
that of 1856. 

2. Diary of James Melville. Wodrow Society, 1 842. 

3. Calderwood's History of the Kirk. Wod. Soc. 1842-9. 

4. Apologetical Narration by William Scot. Wod. Soc, 


5. Spottiswood's Hist, of the Church of Scotland. 

Spottiswoode Soc. 1847-51. 

6. Grub's Ecclesiastical History of Scotland, 

7. Lee's Lectures on the History of the Church of Scot- 

land. i860. 

8. Dictionary of National Biography. Article on Melville 

by Rev. A. Gordon. 

9. Cunningham's Hist, of the Church of Scotland. 

10. Andrew Melville. By William Morison. In Famous 

Scots Series, 1899. 

11. Register of St. Andrews Kirk Session. Edited by 

Dr. Hay Fleming. 1890. 

12. Munimenta Almae Universitatis Glasguensis. Mait- 

land Club, 1854. 

13. Wodrow's Lives. Maitland Club, 1845. 

14. Revue Chretienne, vol. for 1907. Paris. 

15. Scott's Fasti, under parish of Govan. 

16. Melville's work as Educationist : see Edgar (^History of 

Scott. Education) ; Strong, J. [Hist, of Sec. Educ. in 
Scotland) ; Kerr, J. {Scottish Educ. up to 1908). 

17. Andrew Melville. By Dr. John Smith, Glasgow. 

Oration on Commemoration Day, 191 o. 


THOMAS SMEATON (i 536-1 583) 

The successor of Melville as Professor of Divinity 
and as Principal was Thomas Smeaton, who, however, 
held office for only three years. Born at Gask, near 
Perth, in 1536, and educated at Perth Grammar 
School and St. Salvator's, St. Andrews, he became 
minister of Paisley Abbey in 1 577, and was translated 
thence to Glasgow College in 1580 on Melville's 
removal to St. Andrews. The General Assembly, 
before taking this step, solemnly debated the question 
whether it were lawfiil to remove a minister from the 
pastorate and confine him to the doctorate or office 
of teacher ; also, whether it were lawful to remove 
a doctor of the Church from one college to another. 
The decision was in both cases affirmative, nor has it 
ever been rescinded. 

There was a certain romance about Smfeaton, for 
he had clung to the ancient Church long after others 
of his time were entirely outside her pale. He had 
been educated at St. Andrews, and when the storm of 
Reformation broke out, was serving as a regent in St. 
Salvator's College there. His life-story, as he told 
it to James Melville on a journey to Edinburgh, 


was as follows. Suspected of reformed leanings, he 
was "put out" of St. Salvator's and repaired to 
France. There he entered into intercourse with 
Thomas Maitland, who brought him to be " inclined 
to the best way." He got to know also Andrew 
Melville and Gilbert MoncriefF, both at that time 
resident in Paris. Still he was reluctant to leave his 
old faith, and understanding that the Jesuits were 
the most learned and holy of the Roman guides, he 
became a novice, intending at the end of his year of 
probation to enter the Order if he found his faith 
settled. If, however, he gained no new light, then 
he was resolved to seek no further, but yield to the 
light which God had given him through his fellow- 
students of Scotland. He was warmly welcomed by 
Edmund Hay, the head of the Scots College, and by 
his advice he went to Rome. On his long journey, 
however, he visited his friends Andrew Melville and 
Gilbert MoncriefF at Geneva. This was about 1570. 
He told them his plan and asked for their prayers, 
which they heartily granted although they did not 
like his Romeward views. It must be remembered 
that he was much the older man. He did not do 
more than pass through the Calvinistic city, and soon 
found himself housed in the Jesuits' College at 
Rome ; with one of the most learned fathers 
appointed to visit the heretics in prisons, he became 
intimate. Thus he was privileged to accompany the 
father to the prisons and to hear the arguments used 
by the heretics, and the learned father's replies. On 
the road home to the College the two were accus- 
tomed to argue in approved scholastic style, Smeaton 
taking up the heretical side, his reverend friend the 


Roman and orthodox. The college, says the garru- 
lous James Melville, was near a mill. Perhaps he 
suggests by this remark that some grinding out of 
truth went on in these arguments. The actual result, 
as might be expected from a pragmatic Scot arguing 
with a Jesuit, was that after a year and a half Smeaton 
became suspected, and was remitted to Paris again. 
There, Edmimd Hay tried a fresh expedient to retain 
his wavering friend. He advised Smeaton to go to 
a quiet retreat in Lorraine, endowed with a competent 
library of the Fathers and such other books as he 
wished for. He would lack nothing, and could lie 
low till God led him further. Otherwise, in Paris 
there was great danger. The lure was exactly fitted 
to Smeaton's temperament. He started for Lorraine, 
but was by the way seized with fever and fought a 
strong battle in his conscience. Finally he "got; 
clearness," that he must disclose himself as a Pro- 
testant, and publicly expose the falsehoods, hypocrisy, 
and craft of the papalists. He returned to Edmund 
Hay in this new mood, and declared his decision. 
Yet the amiable Jesuit " kythes (shows) na thing but 
lovin frindschipe to him, and at his parting gifFes 
thrie counsalles : i. To reid and studie the Ancient 
Doctors of the Kirk, and nocht to trow (trust) the 
ministers : 2. To go ham(e) to his awin countrey : 
and thridlie. To marie a wyff." Seldom has any 
guide of souls spoken more wisely. It was now the 
year 1572, and Smeaton narrowly escaped the blood- 
hounds of the Faith by taking refuge at the English 
embassy. In the Ambassador's train he passed safely 
to England, finding a schoolmaster's place at 


Thus Smeaton was a kind of Scottish Newman, led 
by the alma lux to Geneva, and finally brought 
home to the Reformed Church of Scodand. But he 
returned with an enfeebled constitution, and was only 
too glad to take shelter with Andrew Melville at 
Glasgow. Soon, Andrew Polwart, Melville's old 
comrade, sometime tutor of the young Brechin 
bishop, become Sub-dean of Glasgow and vacated the 
charge of Paisley Abbey. To this charge Smeaton 
was appointed. Melville having brought him so far, 
put into his hands Archibald Hamilton's dialogue De 
Confusione Calvinianae Sectae apud Scotos. They 
discussed this vehement assault on Calvinism by one 
who had become an apostate from it ; and finally 
Smeaton in 1579 published his Orthodoxa Re- 
sponsio. The full title is given at the close of this 
notice, and does not lack vigour. The book itself 
is a singularly able and scholarly discussion of the 
perennial question of the True Church and its Marks 
or Notes.-"^ 

The copy before me was once David Laing's, and 
was purchased at his sale for the University of St. 
Andrews. Some brief notice of this tractate may 
not be uninteresting to those who are studying to-day 
the same vexed but fundamental theme. 

The dedicatory epistle to King James VI. apolo- 
gises for the slender character of the work, which the 
author describes as composed in a short time and 
without ornaments. He was also afraid that Hamil- 
ton's insolence had moved him to stronger language 
than befits royal ears. His own obscurity and a 
certain subrusticus ingenii pudor, with which he had 

^ See for the particulars above, Melville's Diary, pp. 72-4. 


been affected from his childhood, disposed him rather 
to hide himself and live solitary, than to lie open to 
everybody's criticism by entering the arena of letters 
in so lettered an age. But godly friends persuaded 
him that he was bound to resent the insult offered to 
the Church of God by so foul an apostate, as well as 
to associate with no other patron things which were 
by right the king's own and ought to be published 
under royal auspices. Well, he (the author) was the 
king's own, both as a native Scot and, though long 
and far exiled (peregrinatus) from the truth, now at 
last by the royal bounty made a partaker of the glory 
and gladness of the kingdom. And he was ever 
giving thanks to God for bestowing on the kingdom 
in such trying times a monarch of godly disposition, 
educated by such excellent scholars as Buchanan and 
Peter Young (Junius). There follow some courtly 
compliments, and the date, Glasgow Calend. Mali, 1 579. 
This was pretty well for a shy and solitary scholar, 
but his vocabulary of invective was not less abundant 
than that of courtly compliment. Archibald Hamil- 
ton is trounced for his sophistries in no measured 
terms. A letter "to the Christian reader" frankly 
anticipates some adverse criticism on this score from 
persons whom he describes as nonnullos delicatulos. 
He explains that the task of confuting Hamilton was 
thrust on him, because, though many tar abler scholars 
could more effectually have smashed the apostate's 
crockery (ampullas), some lacked time, others inclina- 
tion, because they felt sure that the petty effusions 
of the ill-starred rhetorculus would die before him- 
self. But the author, while owning the offspring too 
ungainly to live, or at any rate to influence any one 


moderately acquainted with the rudiments of the 
Christian faith, had found that it was fit to lead astray 
simple-minded and careless souls. It was after all a 
weU-got-up thing [fallaci fuco pigmentonimaspersa); 
so he felt that he must answer it. And he had a pre- 
eminent duty, when one compared his life-story with 
Hamilton's. Hamilton (whether deliberately or in 
mere levity) threw himself from the first into the 
Reforming movement, and became not only a 
magister but even a professor in it. He (the 
author), bred from boyhood in the thick darkness of 
Roman errors, and possessed by a stubborn enthusi- 
asm, chose rather to be an exile than to sacrifice his 
superstitious faith. Hamilton by teaching and 
preaching had sought the conversion of many at St. 
Andrews and elsewhere. He (God pardon him) had 
kept back not a few in Scotland, and still more at 
Paris ; and even when shocked after a time by the 
open corruptions of the papalists, he had submitted 
himself to the discipline of the Jesuits rather than 
rashly and unthinkingly abandon the papistic faith. 
And yet the Jesuits were the last device of Antichrist 
— men quartered as it were in garrisons over the 
earth, to obscure by their frauds, lies, and impostures 
the light of the reviving Church, unquenchable by 
flood, sword, or flames. 

Hamilton when civil war came gave his entire 
allegiance to his clan, and began to hold in dislike 
not only the other side, but even his king and the 
religion of Christ himself, and God. He (Smeaton) 
on the other hand, unmoved by Roman blandishments 
or protestant slanders (as he then understood them), 
broke his bonds and asserted his freedom. 


Hamilton took none of the godly into counsel 
when he fled from Christ's army to the rebellious 
offscourings of the papists. He (Smeaton) when 
the gospel light shone on him from heaven made 
known the burden of his conscience, asking and 
obtaining permission to learn ; and cheerfiilly 
followed Clurist, who called him from assured ease to 
tangled employments, from a placid and tranquil life 
to one of hard work. 

Finally, Hamilton had vomited out a most 
poisonous book full of slanders against the Church 
of God. He (Smeaton) would be unworthy of God's 
wonderfiil mercies did he not do his best to defend 
the Church. He had been a stout opponent of the 
truth in old days ; now, he must be as stout an 
exponent of it. 

But why so long a reply.'' The answer is, that 
Hamilton had first begun it, by writing something 
like a volume when he could have served his purpose 
with three words. He was in short a hlaterator. 
Why then answer him ? Because there were others, 
the satellites of Loyola (Ignatianae quosdam Societatis 
satellites), who would leave no stone unturned until 
they had rendered yeoman service in the cause of 
Rome. And though manuscript answers were ready 
by George Hay and John Duncanson, it seemed 
worth while (until these were published) to give some 
aid to troubled consciences against the sophistries of 
Christ's sworn foes. 

As for the third point, his vehemence and bitter- 
ness, the first chapter of the treatise gives ample 
grounds. Its general drift is easy to gather from 
Smeaton's references in this address to the Christian 


reader. He declares that he had to encounter a man 
of the most corrupt and abandoned sort, destitute of 
shame or modesty, inflamed with insensate fury 
against the Church of Christ which he had basely 
deserted, convicted of the infamy of treason and of 
broken faith — a man who declared war against the 
Holy Spirit and distorted Scripture to an alien sense. 
A few specimens are given. St. Paul judges those 
presbyters who rule well to be worthy of double 
honour ; from this, Hamilton derives bombastic and 
servile titles — "Your Most Reverend Holiness," 
" Yoiu- Reverence's sacred authority," " Your Emi- 
nence and Excellency ! " St. Paul gives thanks that 
the faith of the Romans is declared over the whole 
world ; Hamilton argues from this that the Church 
was already diffused through every part of the uni- 
verse. As if Paul had toured the whole world! 
David says that the Lord had placed in the heavens a 
tabernacle for the Sun ; ergo, says Hamilton, the 
Church has always been visible. Hosea prophesies 
that Judah and Israel shall assemble together and 
choose them one Head ; Hamilton says, ergo, the 
Pope is caput Ecclesiae. Any one could vuiderstand 
what sort of style befitted the answer to such a man. 
Smeaton had tried to curb his natural impetuosity of 
temper, yet not to such a degree as to refrain from 
calling things by their names. With another sort of 
papist he would have acted otherwise ; in the case 
of Hamilton, he is just afraid that he has been too 
considerate ! 

Such is Smeaton's justification of the personal tone 
of his Orthodoxa Responsio ; and he concludes by 
begging the Christian reader to bring to the perusal 


the same candour and simplicity with which the 
author has written. 

When he comes to Hamilton's argument, Smeaton 
displays no mean powers, and his criticisms are far 
from being antiquated. The issue was the old one, 
Where and what is the True Church.'' It is the 
same to-day as when our Glasgow Professor wrote 
his copious Latin sentences. What are the notes of 
the Church ? And tested by. these, is the Reformed 
Community a Church.? The Church, according to 
the Niceno-Byzantine Creed, is One, Holy, Universal 
(Catholic), and Apostolic. Does this indicate Rome ? 
Surely not, urges Smeaton ; for as to Unity, you 
Romans are sectatores multorum aliorum, while we 
protestants are sectatores Christi solius, followers of 
Christ and Christ alone. Let Christ, the Lord of 
men and angels, judge which party in this disputa- 
tion it is which disturbs the peace of the Church ; 
which rends the Church into various sects ; to which 
side agree most those thunderbolts which have been 
launched by the Fathers of old. And as to Holiness, 
that does not mean that the Church is in itself " pure 
and spotless, invincible and at all points fortified." 
That is mere nonsense, and Hamilton should take a 
course of the waters for such an absurd mistake! 
The Church and its members are holy for two 
reasons, first, because, cleansed by the blood and 
protected by the righteousness of Christ, it suffers no 
fiirther condemnation; secondly, because the faithfiil 
all their lives long are watchful for good works, being 
aided by the Holy Spirit to exercise themselves 
therein as far as heavenly Grace may avail against the 
infirmity of the flesh. Moreover, Scripture nowhere 


declares that holiness and power are identical. The 
third note is Universality ; but who can soberly 
maintain this of the visible Church, since the greater 
part of the world is still unchristianised ? Africa, 
Asia, and European Turkey, with the lands of 
numberless other rulers, are yet outside the yoke of 
Christ. If we regard the visible Church, 'tis but of 
narrow bounds. The Roman view is untenable, even 
were one to grant that no other Church of Christ 
exists anywhere than that which owns the sway of 
the Supreme Pontiff ; for how small a shred of earth 
salutes the feet of your Idol, or approves his cruel 
tyranny against Christ's servants. In Greece, Africa, 
and Asia Minor, were anciently most flourishing 
Churches, yet never by prayers or threats could they 
be brought under the tyrant's yoke of Rome. 
Augustine himself pointed out (on Psalms ^6, 58, 
and 62) that the universality of the Church must not 
be interpreted as visible. The Church also may oft- 
times be hidden or obscured. Persecution hides it ; 
but so does superstition. The true notes of the 
Church Visible are the sincere preaching of the Word 
and the lawfiil use of the sacraments ; so far as these 
are destroyed by corruptions, the Church itself is 
hidden from our sight. This, however, has happened 
under the papacy more dreadfully than in any other 
case. From the time that popish mendacity, idolatry 
and superstitious ceremonies prevailed in Christen- 
dom, the Church has been hidden. But God's mercy 
sent the light of true doctrine, and we therefore 
abandon the papacy. But we do not on that account 
make secession from the Church, because the papacy 
is not the Church, but the Church's crafty gaoler and 


oppressor. But what is the papacy ? It is that body 
of perverted dogmas, superstitions, ceremonies and 
rites borrowed from pagans and Jews, in short that 
entire hotchpotch (colluvies) of heresies poured forth 
from hell, which the papalists defend against God's 
Word, and which for some ages have soiled the face 
of the Church. If they would but abandon these, 
and trust to the wisdom of Scripture, we are ready to 
embrace them as brethren. As it is, we regard them 
as enemies of the Cross of Christ, and avoid them as 
devourers of His vineyard. It is not the Church in 
the papacy which we disown, but the fables, sacri- 
leges, idolatry, and superstitions by which the Church 
has been deformed. So far as they teach in con- 
sonance with God's Word, we are ready to give our 
adhesion to their doctrine. 

This is the nerve of the question between Rome 
and the Reformers. Hamilton's arguments against 
the Invisible Church are somewhat paltry. If the 
Church is invisible, how can men seek its judgments ? 
Whither must they resort for discipline? But 
Smeaton never asserted that the Church is always 
or everywhere invisible. There has always been a 
true Church even in the times of severest persecution. 
Nor is this to be confounded with the heresy of the 
Donatists, for they maintained that the only true 
Church was in a corner of Africa, and they denied 
that any lawful baptism could be had among heretics. 
The Reformers held no such views. They never 
confined the Church to any province, although they 
believe, that the number of the saved is small com- 
pared with the infinite mass of the perishing. 

The fourth note, Apostolicity, raises the question 


of Apostolic Succession, and here Hamilton claims a 
complete victory. But Smeaton's reply is conclusive. 
The true succession is not from a series or roll of 
bishops, but from the truth of Scripture. TertuUian 
puts the matter thus — " Not from the persons do we 
approve the faith, but from the faith we approve the 
persons" (Non ex personis fidem, sed ex fide per- 
sonas probamus). It is not enough to be " children 
of Abraham." Moreover, the Roman succession 
lacks the very beginning, for there is no trace of the 
errors of Rome in the apostolic teaching. 

Thus far concerning the Four Notes of the Church. 
Smeaton next attacks, in measured but intensely 
scathing terms, the various additional signs of 
churchmanship defended by his opponent — ^virginity,, 
solitary life, the sacerdotal office, monasteries, fasting, 
vigils, prayers to the dead, and the like. These are 
no necessary characters of the Church, and more 
frequently become mere superstitions. The unity 
of the Scottish Church is thereafter defended at length 
against Hamilton's two charges, first that the Scot- 
tish Church is disunited from its frequent changes 
in ritual and doctrine, secondly because it does not 
acknowledge the Roman Pontiff from whom alone 
unity derives. To the first charge, it is answered 
that the Church has never at any time been free from 
divisions ; moreover, the Scots' disputations were not 
on vital or essential points. Indeed, it was a laudable 
custom at St. Andrews, as everywhere among doctors, 
to discuss small questions of literary interest as a 
sauce to their supper, and in a more or less good- 
humoured way. Only once had Smeaton known any 
violent difference to arise, and Hamilton was the 


offender — a man born quarrelsome and of an irritable 
temper. After draining many cups {post exsiccatos 
lihere calices) he was so overcome by his potations 
that he began to rave about the Holy Spirit, accusing 
his neighbour of having said in his sermon that day 
that the Spirit abode in the Apostles not in substance 
but in virtue. When his neighbour declined to 
yield the point, he passed from noisy clamour to 
arms, rushing on him with drawn sword. The 
other, an upright man, avoided the brutal attack, 
and would not imbrue his clean hands in blood 
so foul. 

It is a curious incident, not without some parallels 
in the records of St. Andrews ^ and other seats of 
learning. But Smeaton's point is that the " Cal- 
vinistic Confusion " alleged by Hamilton was mostly 
a mere battle of words, and implied no bitter dis- 
sension. The Assemblies, he points out, are presided 
over by a moderator, chosen for his piety, and his 
knowledge of business ; and he is supreme. It is 
added, rather maliciously, that things have been per- 
fectly quiet and harmonious since Hamilton went 
back to the Roman Church! As to the charge of 
refusing the Papal supremacy, that fact cannot prove 
breach of unity since, throughout history, the Pope 
has been disobeyed or denied by many Christian 
Churches. The Papacy itself has often been divided. 
And no wonder, when one remembers the infamous 
character of many popes. The Church of Rome has 
lacked not only unity, however, but sanctity as well. 
Nor has it remained truly Catholic. 

^E.g. the fracas between Sharp and Sinclair at St. Andrews ; see 
Life of Archbishop Sharp, 1678. 


The tractate concludes with a recitation of the 
marvellously foul charges brought by Hamilton 
against his old associates. They cover almost a whole 
closely-printed page, and form a rich reservoir of 
abuse. Smeaton declines to retort in kind. He 
contents himself with giving to Hamilton a serious 
warning not to repeat his offence. 

Hamilton did not remain silent under this attack. 
In 1 58 1, he published at Paris a formal treatise in 
reply to the maledicam ministrorum Scotorum respon- 
sionem, the " malicious reply of the Scots ministers," 
as he calls Smeaton's book. He thus ignores 
Smeaton, while hinting that his work was really a 
joint production. In this suggestion there is prob- 
ably a good deal of truth. Melville certainly sup- 
plied Smeaton with material, if not with whole 
passages. Hamilton's rejoinder is unquestionably 
superior in tone and method to the pamphlet ; it 
deals in its first part with the attributes of the True 
Church, and in its second part with Smeaton's assault 
on the Papacy as claiming to be the True Church. 
This volume is certainly abler and in better taste than 
Smeaton's reply ; but it could not be otherwise, since 
it came after a labour of two years, and was the 
utmost effort of a man who held no mean place in 
the theological world. Dempster states that Hamil- 
ton was professor honarum artium at Paris, that he 
was Sorhonicus socius, and canon of St. Quentin, 
where he gave proof of his piety by disobeying the 
sub-prefect's order to celebrate mass. He was for 
this deprived, and suffered also supellectilis direp- 
tionem (the plundering of his furniture), and had to 
leave the town. Taking refuge in Rome, he was held 


in great honour by the pope Gregory XIII., and had 
a residence assigned to him in the Vatican. There 
he died in 1593.^ Dempster adds that by his dis- 
cussion with Knox he brought back not a few into 
the bosom of the Church. Knox's own opinion was 
different ; but Melville undoubtedly regarded his 
attack on Presbyterianism as damaging. Nor can it 
honestly be alleged that the Smeatonian reply was 
altogether effective. 

It lends interest to Smeaton's work to find it 
recorded by Dempster^ that Smeaton himself had 
been a professor of Humanity at Paris, before he 
enrolled as a novice in the Society of Jesus and began 
to teach in their College there (in Claromontano 
ibidem collegio). He adds that Smeaton taught 
magno ingenii applausu. But he describes him as a 
vile apostate and deserter from the sacred militia, and 
haereticus ministellus, a heretical " little minister." 

Dempster is not unkind to Smeaton's book, which 
he describes as not inelegant in style, but void of 
doctrine. He mentions at the same time another 
production of Smeaton's — Epitaphium Metellani, an 
epitaph on Thomas Maitland, to whom, says Demp- 
ster, Smeaton had stuck (haeserat) as a companion in 
Italy. It is a significant commentary on Dempster's 
accuracy that he gives the date of Smeaton's death as 
1578. At that time, Smeaton was Dean of Faculty 
in Glasgow, being then minister of Paisley. 

A lost work of Smeaton's is referred to in the 

General Assembly's minutes of 1581 as follows: 

" Anent the printing of the method of preaching and 

prophesieing set out be (by) [Hyperius ?] and shewed 

^ See Dempster, Histor'ta Eccksiastica, II. 3 5 5. 2 ii,y „ ^ gg 


and read in the Assemblie : The Assemblie hath 
thoght meet that the samine may be committed to 
irons and printed, as necessary for the forme of 
teaching, and to be put in Scots be their brother, 
Mr Thomas Smetone." Evidently this was a Latin 
treatise, and the Scots version by Smeaton would be 
a valuable example of the contemporary Scottish 

Smeaton's time as Principal Professor at Glasgow 
was short, yet it was not free from agitations. The 
decease of the amiable Archbishop Boyd brought to 
Glasgow as the new " Tulchan " a minister of Stir- 
ling, Robert Montgomery. The Tulchans had by 
this time become a serious problem, the General 
Assembly having condemned the office of diocesan 
bishop. Montgomery's appointment was issued by 
the king to the chapter of the Cathedral of Glasgow, 
but when the day came for the meeting to elect under 
the royal conge d'elire, the election did not take place. 
It is true that the dignified members of the chapter 
attended in obedience to the summons. They were 
the Dean, Andrew Hay, parson of Renfrew : the 
Archdeacon, Archibald Douglas of Glasgow : the 
Archdeacon of Teviotdale, Maister Robert Ker : and 
the Chancellor, David Weems, parson of Glasgow. 
The Sub-dean, Andrew Polwart, was absent. Hay 
presided and submitted a solemn protest against any- 
thing being done contrary to the laws of the Church, 
since Montgomery was incapable of holding the 

1 Book of the Universal Kirk, II. 513. There is a blank in the 
Assembly's record, where the name would be entered. This was 
possibly the work of Hyperius, De Theologo, Basileae, 1556, book IV. 
of which deals with preaching. 


office. Thereupon the Privy Council found that the 
appointment had fallen to the King jure devoluto, 
and Montgomery was accordingly declared to be 
Archbishop. This was promptly followed by the 
Assembly's excommunication of Montgomery. The 
rejoinder of the Privy Council was a proclamation 
declaring that sentence to be null and void. The 
Raid of Ruthven came swiftly on the heels of these 
rapid strokes of contention, and relieved the situation 
for a time. 

In all these furious interchanges, Smeaton had a 
prominent share, as the coadjutor of Andrew Mel- 
ville. Melville himself was the chief accuser of 
Montgomery. He produced to the Assembly no less 
than sixteen articles of libel against that unfortunate 
courtier-parson. The first of these was so monstrous 
that it cannot be transcribed. The fifth bore that 
Montgomery had laboured to bring Greek and 
Hebrew into contempt, asking, " In what schools 
were Peter and Paul graduate ? " Others declared 
that he had described the ministers as " curious 
brains " : that he had said that baptism in one out 
of the three holy Names was valid : that he had 
ridiculed the attempts of the ministers to find modern 
precedents in Scripture, asking scornfully, " In what 
Scripture could they find a Bishop at a thousand 
pounds, horse, corn, and poultry ? " He had also 
asked " when they teach of love, how could they find 
Judas .'' " Finally, he had been for the past quarter 
of a year " negligent in doctrine, discipline, and assist- 
ing of the Eldership (presbytery)." ^ It cannot be 

^Book of the Universal Kirk, 11. 533, 534. "Assisting" no 
doubt means attending the presbytery's meetings. 


said that those charges reflect credit on Melville, 
except for ingenuity. The utmost which they prove 
seems to be that the historian Robertson was right in 
describing Montgomery as " a man vain, feeble, pre- 
sumptuous." But throughout this struggle with 
Episcopacy, the real issue was not one of fact but of 
principle. Montgomery was regarded as a traitor 
to the Presbyterian principles, and with ample 

Montgomery was not without some support in 
Glasgow, and his efforts to assert his rights as Arch- 
bishop caused considerable distress and disorder. The 
grievances presented to the King by Andrew MelviUe 
and others, at Perth in July, 1582, in name of the 
recent General Assembly, contain several references 
to the strife in Glasgow. Montgomery had been 
invited to preach at court, though under excommuni- 
cation : ministers in Glasgow had suffered contempt. 
There had been " dinging of many doing their 
office" ; and especially the moderator of the presby- 
tery of Glasgow, Mr. John Howson or Howieson, 
had been dragged to prison out of his chair by the 
provost, the bailies, and their accomplices. The 
minister of Glasgow Cathedral had been displaced by 
a crowd of country gentlemen in order to admit 
Montgomery. At the Communion even one of the 
King's own guard had pulled him out of the pulpit 
in time of sermon. Ministers, Masters of Colleges, 
and students of Glasgow had been expelled from their 
places. The students had been attacked within their 
own grounds by the bailies and " commountie," sum- 
moned for the purpose by the common bell and 
" straik of drum." Blood had flowed, and murder 


had almost been done on the unfortunate scholars. 
Altogether a dismal account is given of the doings of 
Montgomery's friends.^ The students, however, had 
not been idle. They had on one occasion taken 
forcible possession of the Cathedral and placed in it 
Smeaton, their principal, as preacher, excluding the 

Such agitations ill suited a man like Smeaton, of 
whom James Melville says that he was " very wacryff 
(sleepless) and peanfull (assiduous)." " I haiff sein 
him oft," he adds, " find fault with lang denners and 
suppers at General Assemblies ; and when uthers wer 
thairat, he wald abstein, and be about the penning of 
things (wherin he excellit, bathe in langage and form 
of letter) ; and yit was nocht rustic nor auster, but 
sweit and affable in companie, with a modest and 
naive gravitie : very frugall in fude and reyment, and 
walked maist on fut. . . . He lovit me exceiding 
Weill, and wald at parting thrust my head in his 
bosome and kis me." - 

This was no person to stand the brunt of such a 
time, and we do not wonder that he broke down, as 
did also another of Andrew Melville's hard-worked 
band of scholars, Arbuthnot, principal of King's 
College, Aberdeen. They died within a month of 
each other, Smeaton on December 13, 1583,^ followed 
by an epitaph from Andrew Melville which, even 
through its classical posing, reveals simple affection 
and admiration. The verses are worth transcription, 

1 Book of the Univ. Kirk, 11. pp. 583, 584. 

2 Melville's Diary, p. 75. 

3 Mackenzie {Lives, III. 1 97) says 6th December. 


especially in view of the scantiness of Smeaton's 
memorials : 

Vix heu, vix raptum deflevimus Arbuthnetum, 

Vix heu justa datis solvimus inferiis, 
Et premit altera mors, et funere fiinus acerbat, 

Et magno extincto lumine majus obit. 
Ille quidem Arctoa tenebras de nocte fugabat, 

Fulgebas medio Glasgua Stella die. 
Quod si luce sua spoliata est noxque diesque 

Nostra, eheu quantis obruimur tenebris ! 
Aut ergo e tenebris revoca lucem, aut, hominum lux 

Christe redi, ut nobis stet sine nocte dies. 

In English. 

Scarce for Arbuthnot cease our tears to flow. 
Scarcely with funeral rites we laid him low, 
When close a second death accents our moan. 
One great star quenched, a greater still is gone ! 
Arbuthnot from the North its night dispelled. 
But Glasgow's star the midmost heaven held. 
Thus is our darkness overwhelming quite, 
For night and day have both been robbed of light. 
Give back the light. Lord ! or Thyself descend. 
Thou Light of men ! Thus night for us shall end ! 

With such a tribute from Melville the name of 
Smeaton passes out of history. He was one of 
Melville's wide circle of friends and fellow-workers, 
and one may faintly conjecture that the pace was too 
hard for him. He had sought light and peace with 
singular persistency. And only the former had been, 
granted him ; for there was no peace for men of his 
type here on earth. His short story, ended at forty- 
seven years of age, is a pathetic interlude in the 


rugged scenes of this period. Surely, he was out of 
place amid contentions and brawls, which were the 
meat and drink of some of his associates. One would 
fain believe that that which chiefly drew him from 
Rome to Glasgow was the love he cherished for his 
friends, Maitland and the Melvilles and others. Yet 
he was no mere dreamer. For James Melville 
records that it was from his brain and Andrew's, 
^' mervelously conspyring," that there came the plan 
of an Anti-Seminary to the Jesuits' Seminary, to be 
erected at St. Andrews. Such was the true inward- 
ness of the appointment of Melville to St. Andrews 
as head of St. Mary's College, and that venerable 
institution may be regarded as the symbol and the 
assurance of the Scottish rejection of Rome. It was 
part of the plan that Smeaton should take charge of 
Glasgow's theological school, and thus Glasgow 
College also became an " Anti-Seminary." 

There is no evidence that Smeaton was in Roman 
orders, though he had been a novice and a tutor in 
the Jesuit College at Paris. The ordination he had 
was that of the Reformed Church, and may or may 
not have included the imposition of hands. Dr. 
M'Crie says he was married ; of this the evidence is 
a statement by James Melville, who records that he 
accompanied Smeaton to Edinburgh in 1578, "to 
fetch ham(e) his wyfF " — i.e. to act as " best man," 
and that this absence from his pupils at Glasgow gave 
occasion to the enormities of Alexander Boyd. Thus 
the rejoicings of Smeaton were mingled with the 
tears of that unlucky student, whom James, his 
regent, felt obliged to treat to a sound beating. It 
seems Boyd had stayed away from Church, and had 


" played the loon " on the Sabbath.^ Smeaton In 
marrying had apparently acted on the advice of his 
kind friend, the Jesuit Edmund Hay.^ Dr. M'Crie 
adds that the Thomas Smetoun who graduated M.A. 
in 1604 w^s probably a son of the former Principal. 
It remains to be added that Smeaton was Moderator 
of the General Assembly in July, 1579. The custom 
then was to prepare a leet of three, the Assembly 
making choice of one of them as its presiding officer 
— a practice probably continued from that which is 
still followed in the Roman method of appointing a 
bishop. Smeaton in 1579 was on the leet, and 
accordingly was chosen. 

Smeaton's time as Principal and Professor of 
Divinity was much too short and troubled to make a 
deep impression on the College of Glasgow ; but it 
may be assumed that he did his part to maintain its 
interests and its reputation. 

Works of Smeaton 

Ad virulentum Archibaldi Hamiltonii apostatae Dialogum, 
de Confusione Calvinianae Sectae apud Scotos impie 
conscriptum, orthodoxa responsio. Thoma Smetonio 
Scoto auctore . . . Adjecta est vera historia extremae 
vitae et obitus . . . Joan. Knoxii. Edinburgh: 1579. 
In St. Andrews Univ. Lib. 

[This account of John Knox's last days is said in the 
title-page to be " by a pious and learned man who was 
present at his deathbed."] 

Epitaphium Metellani [epitaph of Thomas Maitland]. 

1 Melville's Diary, p. 69. * See supra, p. 85. 



1 . Melville (Jas.). Diary. 

2. Dempster (T.). Historia Ecclesiastica. 

3. Smeaton (T.). Tractate in reply to A. Hamilton de 

Confusione Cahinianae Sectae apud Scotos. Several in- 
teresting particulars are scattered throughout this, in 
reference to Smeaton's life. 

4. Book of the Universal Kirk. 

5. Munimenta Almae Universitatis Glasguensis. 

6. M'Crie (T.). Life of Melville. 

7. Scott's Fasti, under Govan and Paisley. 

8. Mackenzie's Lives, iii. 194. [A brief life of Smeaton, 

not very accurate, but including a curious story of 
Knox's prophecy regarding the death of Thomas Mait- 
land, known as Metellanus, to whom Mackenzie says 
that Smeaton acted as tutor till Maitland's death at 
Rome. Mackenzie also states that Smeaton himself 
was the friend who was present at Knox's deathbed, 
and wrote the fine account of Knox's last words 
appended to Smeaton's reply to Archibald Hamilton.] 



The death of Smeaton took place at a critical time 
when Melville was exiled from his own College in 
St. Andrews, and his friends were also in some tem- 
porary disgrace with the King's advisers. It was 
not therefore till 1586 that the appointment of Prin- 
cipal and Professor of Divinity issued in favour of 
Patrick Sharp, who had been in residence with 
Melville at the Glasgow College, and was at the time 
Master of the Grammar School. His work as school- 
master began in 1574, the year of Melville's settle- 
ment in Glasgow. In 1576 he was one of a com- 
mittee of classical scholars appointed to draw up a 
new Latin Grammar for schools. James Melville 
quotes the laudatory remark in which Sharp declares 
that he had learned more " of Mr. Andro Melvill 
craking and pleying (chatting and chaffing), for under- 
standing of the authors quhilk he teatched in the 
scholl, nor (than) be all his commentares." How 
much he had learned it is not easy to gather ; but his 
fame as a disciplinarian is well established. He was 
an expert in the use of the belt, and so far qualified 
to become Principal of a Scots University as then and 
long after established. 


Sharp was a very different man from his predeces- 
sor, Smeaton. Dempster has nothing to say of him 
except that he was a man learned in Latin and Greek 
and published many things. It is certain that Sharp 
kept out of the field of controversy, and that his 
temperament was more restrained than that of Mel- 
ville. As professor of Divinity he seems to have 
been methodical and thorough, and he had at least 
one brilliant pupil, John Cameron, afterwards prin- 
cipal for one troubled year. His work called Doc- 
trinae Christianae brevis Explicatio, which will be 
described later, is almost certainly a copy of the 
" dictates " which he gave to the Divinity students. 

Of his career, the record which remains is rather 
ecclesiastical and political than academic. Up to the 
year 1596, there seems to have been little develop- 
ment in his opinions regarding the questions at issue 
with the King ; but from that date onward, he was 
decisively associated with the Episcopising party, and 
was placed on one committee after another favourable 
to that party. At length, in 16 10 he is found in the 
list of the High Commission appointed to deal 
directly with disorders in the Church, and he held 
office in this august body up to the middle of 16 14, 
when his health failed. He died in May, 161 5, 
when he was probably about sixty-five. He was twice 

The turning-point in his career was in 1606, when 
along with seven others he was summoned to London 
to attend the Conference at Hampton Court. One 
of his colleagues was destined to be the new Principal 
of St. Mary's College, Robert Howie, in succession 
to the exiled Melville. Those eight delegates were 


all of the King's party. No less than four of them 
became bishops, as James Melville is careful to note.^ 
They were unanimous in their answer to the first 
question submitted, Whether the Aberdeen Assembly 
was lawful or not ? It was a critical question, because 
they were face to face with the eight ministers whom 
the King had commanded to attend from the Presby- 
terian side, and among whom were the two Melvilles. 
It was indeed a historic scene. The King's courtiers 
were present in large numbers. The heir to the 
Throne was at his father's left hand. For Patrick 
Sharp, the old pupil and housemate of Andrew Mel- 
ville, it must have been a trying moment. But he 
answered with the rest, declaring that they had always 
condemned the Aberdeen Assembly as unlawful. 
The scene closed with the famous outburst of Mel- 
ville against the Advocate, Thomas Hamilton, which 
the King interpreted as a charge that Hamilton was 
Antichrist, and so curtly dismissed the assembly. 

In a letter addressed shortly before this incident to 
" The Right Honourable Mr. William Scot, minister 
of Cupar," and attributed with much probability to 
John Sharp, minister of Kilmany, a cousin of Patrick 
Sharp, there is a shrewd estimate of the latter's posi- 
tion. William Scot of Cupar was one of the Eight 
summoned to London for their defiant attitude toward 
the King's policy.^ His friendly correspondent says 
— " My cousin of Glasgow wrote to me the last day, 
and I to him. He has promised meikle. He is ane 
courtiour. Ye may confer with him as ye have occa- 
sion. I am wo that he should be that other way." ^ 

1 Melville's Diary, p. 659. ^ Supra, p. 66. 

' Scot of Cupar's Apologetical Narration, Wod. Soc. p. xv. 


It was in 1606 also that Sharp became Constant 
Moderator of the presbytery of Glasgow, the nearest 
dignity to a bishopric ; and thus gave final proof of 
his Episcopal leanings. Three years after we find 
him at the Falkland Conference, at which the motion 
for a truce between parties was affirmed. This 
familiar expedient promoted the full triumph of the 
court party, and led directly to the events of 16 10, 
when Spottiswood, Lamb, and Hamilton were con- 
secrated at London, and returned to Scotland qualified 
to impart consecration to the remaining Scots bishops. 
The bishops had at last become full-fledged prelates, 
so far as consecration and endowments went. They 
had already begun to wear their uniform, prescribed 
from the Court. It was all of one colour, black, a 
circumstance which miay account for the popular 
phrase " black prelacy." Black stockings to the knee, 
black gowns, and black crape at the neck, represented 
their sombre splendour. It was also enjoined as the 
costume of Doctors of Divinity.^ But in neither 
respect could it be worn by Patrick Sharp. 

Coutts declares that during Sharp's twenty-eight 
years of office the University " held its own and 
made some progress." Baillie mentions in his praise 
that he obtained for the College the parsonage teinds 
of Govan.^ Yet it is recorded that royal commis- 
sioners reported in 16 13 that a number of abuses in 
the College were all traceable to the principal, and 
they were directed to meet in August, 16 14, and 
proceed against Sharp. Before this trial could be 

^ Cunningham's History of the Church of Scotland, I. p. 476. 
^Baillie's Letters, III. 574. 


held, Sharp resigned his appointment, and it was not 
long before his death ensued. 

The Brief Explication of Christian Doctrine repre- 
sents the sole attempt made by any professor of 
Divinity in Glasgow to set forth the doctrines of the 
Faith in something like text-book form. Printed at 
Edinburgh in 1599, and dedicated to King James, it 
is described as being written by Patrick Sharp, pro- 
fessor of Theology in Academia Glascuensi. It is a 
modest production, treating of the first three chapters 
of Genesis, the Apostles' Creed, the Institution or 
Doctrine of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, and the 
Lord's Prayer. The dedication to the King begins 
by reciting that many causes combined to disturb the 
author when he thought of publishing this digest 
of his teaching in the class-room. For one thing, 
nothing new could be said, and he might even spoil 
the old. Again, he was conscious of his own slender 
powers, which counselled him to lie low and not 
rashly to incur the judgment of so learned an age. 
Thirdly, he had a just dislike of the scribbler's weak- 
ness which urged so many men to authorship. 
Nevertheless, by adhering to the best authorities, and 
above all to the sacred pronouncements of God's 
Word, he hoped to be favourably judged by good 
men. Jerome had well said that each and every man 
offers in God's Temple just what he can, or what he 
has got from others. So, despising the criticism of 
the wicked, he ventured to send out this slender 
offspring of his mind under the royal auspices. He 
had the strongest grounds for such a proceeding ; 
because it was His Majesty to whom under God he 


owed life and all its prospects ; who was the advocate 
of the Truth, the detector of sophistry, the defender 
and champion of Christ's kingdom, and the ardent 
well-wisher of the Church's safety, as he had abun- 
dantly proved in the General Assembly. He had 
not deemed it beneath his dignity to take part in the 
councils of the shepherds of the Church, lowly as they 
were, and to declare (the dedicator himself being pre- 
sent heard the very words) that he would rather- be a 
Christian than a king without Christ. His first care 
had been to see proper Church judicatories established 
in even the most out-of-the-way regions. From 
himself and his colleagues, whom His Majesty had 
set over the Glasgow Gymnasium, the King had a 
right to look for some mature production, since Glas- 
gow University possessed noble monuments of royal 
munificence which posterity would applaud. For 
their part, they never ceased to pray for His Majesty, 
for the realm, and for the Church. And he remained 
His Majesty's addictissimus et humillimus servus. 

There follows a preface briefly setting forth the 
nature of Scripture and of the canonical books. 
Scripture then is that which by the inspiration of the 
Holy Spirit and especially through Prophets and 
Apostles has been written down for the instruction of 
God's people concerning the right worship of God 
Himself and the true happiness. Scripture is the 
instrumentum whereby God gathers to Himself a 
Church. Nothing can be accepted as true which is 
not congruent to Scripture. The canon is given, and 
the Old Testament list as in our Authorised Version. 
In the New Testament list, however, St. Paul is 
credited with the epistle to the Hebrews, To prove 


by the logic of the natural man that Scripture is the 
Word of God is a vain attempt (frustra desudaveris); 
this faith comes to those taught of God who recognise 
the light by its very nature. But there are also writ- 
ings ecclesiastical and apocryphal which are not 
canonical. These the Fathers would have to be read 
in the Churches, but not to be alleged as authorities. 

In all this there is certainly nothing out of keeping 
with the author's confession of his tenuitas ingenii. 
But the brief discussion of Scripture is liberally sup- 
plied with quotations from Chrysostom, Augustine, 
Athanasius, Rufinus, Cajetan, and Origen, yielding 
an inkling of the learned writer's library. 

Discussing (or, as he says, " praelecting " on) the 
first three chapters of Genesis, Sharp gives first a 
running commentary, then " aphorisms " derived 
from particular passages. Thus on chap i. verse 2, 
he gravely rejects the opinion of philosophers that 
there are four elements, air, earth, fire and water, 
because fire is only intensissimus calor, or in fact 
heated air! The general aim, however, is by 
these " aphorisms " to connect the story of creation, 
temptation, and promise of deliverance with the great 
scheme of Christian doctrine. From those three 
chapters of Genesis the writer seeks to draw the 
Church doctrines of God, of man, of sin, and of 
redemption. The contact with Christian dogma is 
much closer in his short treatise on the Apostle's 
Creed. He adopts the form carnis resurrectionem, 
but explains it in terms of the Pauline distinction 
between the natural body and the spiritual body. 
In each clause, he follows a uniform method — (a) 
illustration of its terms from Scripture : (b) explana- 


tion of the Church Doctrine from the Fathers : (c) 
*' uses " of the doctrine. As regards the Virgin 
Birth, he says — ^uanquam vero conceptus fuit 
miraculosus, nativitas tamen ordinaria. He denies 
any literal descent into hell. He gives the recognised 
distinction between the Visible and the Invisible 
Church ; to this latter alone he declares that the 
terms of the Creed apply. The Ecclesia Romana is 
vere scortum ; the Church Invisible alone is the 
Sponsa Christi, who is holy and pure. He con- 
cludes with a brief disquisition on Justification which, 
he defines as Dei actio, qua gratis ex sua misericordia 
justitiam imputat natura filio irae, credenti solum per 
redemptionem factam Jesu Christi ad demonstrandam 
justitiam suam. 

The short treatise on Baptism and the Lord's 
Supper which follows discusses first the number of 
the New Testament sacraments, and thereafter passes 
to the two sacraments alone prescribed by Christ. 
The sacraments themselves are not only signa but 
sigilla, both signs and seals. He explains hoc est 
corpus meum, after Tertullian and Augustine, as hoc 
est signum corporis met. Thereafter, having shortly 
defined Repentance and Good Works, he proceeds 
to the ethical part of his exposition, founding on the 
Ten Commandments. In this part he shews con- 
siderable vigour and plainness of speech. The last 
pages are devoted to an explanation of the Lord's 
Prayer, in which he recognises that the phrase "De- 
liver us from evil " is a prayer for help against the 
Evil One {ah illo malo). There follows his signature 
M. P. S. = Magister Patricius Scharpius ; and the 
date 5. Calend. Januar, 1597 (i.e. Dec. 28, 1596). 


Sharp's last days were spent under a cloud. His 
enforced resignation was probably the occasion of his 
death, for he was not yet three score and ten. He 
cannot be commemorated for his theological gifts, 
but he was at any rate a methodical and painstaking 
teacher. His merits as a teacher were not unrecog- 
nised, and more than one distinguished writer sat on 
his benches. Cameron, afterwards principal, Andrew 
Rivet, who became a noted theologian, i and David 
Dickson, first professor of Divinity in Glasgow after 
that chair was separately established, were among his 
students. The great Napier, of the Logarithms, sent 
his son to study under Sharp. With this modest 
record, he cannot be dismissed as uninteresting. 

Works of Patrick Sharp 

Doctrinae Christianae brevis Explicatio : in tria priora 
Geneseos capita, Symbolum Apostolicum, Baptismi, 
Coenae Domini institutionem, Decalogum, et Orationem 
Dominicam. Authore Patricio Scharpio, Theologiae 
professore in Academia Glascuensi. Edinburgh: 1599. 
[/« Glasgow University Library."] 

Of the Grammar for Schools, I have not seen any copy. 

' But see p. 171. 

ROBERT BOYD (1578-1627) 

I. Preparation 

Robert Boyd, who was brought over from Saumur 
to succeed Patrick Sharp, was at the outset fortunate 
in his birth and early education. Born in 1578, he 
was eldest son of the Tulchan Archbishop of Glas- 
gow, and thus claimed close kinship with the noble 
family of Boyd, and, through his grandmother, with 
the house of Cassillis. His father indeed would 
never have been Archbishop but for the convenient 
arrangement by which the Church lands and revenues 
passed to the clan of Boyds through the archiepis- 
copal hands. We must, however, remember that the 
arrangement was perfectly legal at the time. The 
future Principal and Professor was born at Glasgow, 
but on his father's death in 1581 when he was but 
three years old, he was removed to the family home 
at Trochrigg (Trochoregia), and sent by his mother 
to the Ayr Grammar School near that place. Thence 
he was taken to Edinburgh University for his philo- 
sophy (arts) course, and became in due time Master 
of Arts. In this course his regent during the entire 
three or four years was Charles Ferme. When, how- 


ever, he passed to the study of theology, he found 
himself under the care of the famous RoUock, the 
principal regent and professor of Divinity in Edin- 
burgh. RoUock was a thoroughgoing Calvinist, as 
his treatise on Effectual Calling shews. Dr. Walker, 
in his book on the Scots theologians of the seven- 
teenth and eighteenth centuries, says that RoUock was 
neither brilliant nor powerful ; but Boyd himself, in 
his Philotheca, writes in rapturous hexameters of the 
extraordinary force and vehemence of RoUock's utter- 
ance. He had, it seems, a very powerful voice, and 
a faculty of creating profound emotion. It was Rol- 
lock, the pupil declares, who first brought him under 
the gentle yoke of Christ. His noble brow, his eager 
eyes, his wit, his very mouth and hands, and his whole 
countenance, are celebrated by the enthusiastic pupil, 
who was then over thirty. Such a description, though 
perhaps enhanced by memory and affection, leads us 
to think that Dr. Walker's estimate is niggardly. 
Boyd himself was notably eager and forcible in his 
style, and may possibly have contracted some likeness 
to his admired teacher, just as long afterwards Amy- 
raut (according to Bayle) imitated his master Cameron 
in voice and " a certain motion of his head in 
speaking." ^ 

In addition to the influence of RoUock, that of 
two of his College friends is singled out by himself 
(in the Philotheca, his autobiography). They were 
a fellow-student, James Watson, "a bearded man 
with beardless boys," afflicted also by paralysis in the 

1 Walker's Theology and Theologians in Scotland, 1 888, p. 3 ; 
Wodrow's Lives, Boyd, p. 8, Cameron, p. 213; Bayle's Dictionary, 
sub voce Cameron. 


hand, a man of rare humility and resignation. They 
worked together, Boyd helping Watson with his 
writing, and Watson helping Boyd in his " divine 
studies." The other was Robert Bruce, the great 
preacher, " standard-bearer of godliness," " the Basile 
or Bernard of our age," whose sermons and friend- 
ship were of equal value to Rollock's discipline. 

Boyd became an unwilling exile from Scotland in 
1597, during a period of great unsettlement in the 
Church. He has left among his papers a note of his 
wanderings in France until he settled for a time at 
Montauban, where Scotsmen were made peculiarly 
welcome. This young Magister Artium records how 
he left Scotland on May Day, 1597, and took six 
days to voyage to Dieppe. Passing through Rouen 
and Paris, he stayed a short time at Orleans with a 
M. Grisper, paying for pension eight livres monthly. 
Thence after a brief halt at Chatelherauk, he passed 
to Poitiers, where he would doubtless find traces of 
Andrew Melville. But Poitiers was still unfriendly 
to the Reformed, and he wandered on to Tours, and 
there remained till his health, never robust and always 
sorely tried by study, broke down. He was now 
twenty. Change of scene restored him somewhat, 
but he removed to Bordeaux, and at last returned to 
Poitiers. A visit paid from thence to Montauban 
led to his being employed there for five years as a 
regent, teaching philosophy (i.e. arts). Andrew 
Rivet, in the short account of Boyd's life prefixed to 
the work on Ephesians, says that Boyd taught four 
hoiors daily, spending the rest of his time " in other 
studies." " He slept little, spending a great part 
of the night in the study of Divinity, which he still 


propounded to himself as his great mark. His pur- 
pose always was, if God gave him an opportunity, to 
be the pastor of a church and professor in an 

II. MoNTAUBAN (1599-1604) 

At Montauban he set about his work with 
characteristic thoroughness. His " trials " when 
appointed regent (or professor of philosophy) in- 
cluded an inaugural lecture on Catiline's Conspiracy, 
and an oration on poetry as exemplified in the first 
satire of Persius. When duly admitted as Politioris 
literaturae irpuoroSiSaa-KaXoi (for so he is officially 
designated) he affixed to the College wall his pro- 
gramme, notifying that on November 13 he would 
at 8 a.m. lecture on Cicero's pro lege Manilia in Latin 
and French ; at 12, on Isocmtes' aii Demonicum ; and 
in the afternoon hours on Virgil's Aeneid, III. To 
these subjects he will dedicate and consecrate his 
labours, nee ad Critolai libram expensis, nee ad 
Cleanthis lucernam evtgilatis. He therefore earnestly 
requests all studious youths, initiates iji these sacred 
mysteries, priests of learning, alumni of the muses, 
pillars of the University, to give their attendance. 
As to holidays, he will observe the day of foundation. 
The opening address was on the origin, growth, and 
advantages of the literae humaniores. At this time 
also, he published his philosophical theses, as well as 
certain theses of a theological nature. His pro- 
gramme, annually renewed, announces oral examina- 
tions and exercises on particular subjects, for the 
purpose of testing the scholars' knowledge. 

MONTAUBAN (1599-1604) 119 

His second session witnessed a large increase in 
attendance. His daily prayer in class was a fit pre- 
lude to such serious and devoted labours. It is worth 
transcribing, for a model to our modern classes : 

"Eternal God and Father, fountain of all grace and 
wisdom, who resistest the proud and givest grace to the 
humble ; before all things graft in us humility and modera- 
tion of spirit. Lighten our minds by the brightness of thy 
Spirit : confirm our memory, govern our will, order the 
aflfections of our heart, and make us teachable and under- 
standing in good learning. Finally, direct our studies to the 
end that we may serve thee faithfully and sincerely, living 
godly righteous and sober in this present world, employing 
all we say and do and think for the glory of thy Name alone, 
for the good of our neighbour, and for our own salvation : 
per Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen" 

A prayer of some length in Latin hexameters was 
used on the opening day each session. It concludes 
with the Lord's Prayer, "precww nohis normam 
hanc formam." This is as good a Latin version of 
the Lord's Prayer as I have anywhere seen in verse ; 
and scholars will be grateful for the lines, which are 
as follows : 

Christiadum Genitor, qui coelestem incolis arccm, 

Nominis orbe tui splendescat gloria toto, 

Sceptra tui passim vigeant regni ; utque voluntas 

Fit tua coelicolis, terrae sic fiat alumnis ; 

Da quibus usus eget vitae praesentis ; et aere 

Solve tuo obstrictos, nostrum donamus ut ultro ; 

Neve hosti nos trade, malo sed libera ab omni ; 

Nam regnum roburque tuum, et dccus omne per aevum est. 

Nor was he above promulgating certain regulations 
which were privately imposed on his hearers. These 
are no less than seventeen in number. He bids his 


students remember that philosophy is not a matter of 
words and opinions ; but of character, life, and 
action. Therefore each must be not a spectator only 
but also an actor. He ought first of all to observe 
the College laws. He should shew due honour to 
the magistrates, professors and preceptors of the 
College. He must come to class punctually at the 
fixed hours, armed with pen, notebook, and the books 
which are to be discussed. He must not be absent 
except for dangerous illness or more important busi- 
ness. He ought to be teachable, attentive and 
modest in time of lecture, not talkative or noisy, not 
laughing or using slangy or unseasonable speech, not 
interspersing any remarks or wasting time. Nor 
must he ejaculate loudly while men are writing, or 
ask questions of the professor while he is dictating, 
or add anything of his own to what is thus dictated. 
He must never reach such a height of impudence 
(impudentiae) as to require his professor to repeat 
what has just been uttered, or to warn him that the 
clause dictated has been written out, or to hinder 
any fellow-student while writing ; or finally to emit 
any remark during the writing which may be heard 
by the professor and may give him offence ; but he 
must receive the prelection in modest silence. 

The student, after dictation is ended, must give the 
same attention and silence to his professor's teaching 
and dissertations. He must take his place without 
quarrelling and uproar, he must not grab another 
scholar's seat, or wander from one seat to another, or 
walk up and down. Nor must he go out before the 
professor has left the auditorium or has given the sign 
of dismissal, unless he has first obtained leave. 


MONTAUBAN (i 599-1604) 121 

Disputations were to be attended with diligence, 
and each student must play his assigned part, whether 
it be to expound, to reply, to propound or to impugn, 
to teach, to speak, or to make conclusions (docendi, 
dicendi, deducendi). At the weekly debate (hebdo- 
mas), he must in his turn submit theses prepared care- 
fully the day before : he must arrange the number, 
order, and place of the disputants, partly by lot, partly 
at the professor's direction. On Sundays, the 
students at the morning hour of class, two or three 
men at a time, must treat the particular head {caput) 
appointed by the professor, not carelessly but with 
accuracy and diligence. The other students must 
freely offer their criticism ; but if anything unfair 
should be said or done, the critics should seriously 
draw attention to it. 

The prelections given daily, along with the relevant 
passages in Aristotle, ought to be pondered and 
memorised, and this not only in college but at home. 
A student should not, however, confine himself to 
the class-lectures, but ought day and night to consult 
philosophical writers of note, such as Zabarella (and 
him especially) ; also, Pacius, Piccolomini, Porerius, 
Fonseca, Toletus, the Conimbricenses.^ 

The student should never postpone till to-morrow 
the task of to-day, but render daily his due. Other- 
wise, carelessness must be reckoned as bad as deceit. 
Above all, wherever he may be, the scholar must 
shew himself a man of good morals, avoiding blas- 
phemy, profanity, quarrelling and intemperance. It 
should be his habit to be present at, and take part in, 

1 Conimbrkenses, Jesuits of the Univ. of Coimbra, Portugal, com- 
mentators on Aristotle. 


sermons, hymns, prayers and the other parts of 
Divine Service. He ought not to absent him- 
self either at the beginning or at the end of his 

And above all, the scholar at nightfall should never 
leave his room unless for unavoidable business. For 
out of such night-haunting arise the desertion of 
college rooms and studies, the vague wandering in 
the streets, the secret contentions, the love affairs and 
drinking-bouts after holidays. Hence also flow 
brawlings, ambushes, wounds. Hence, in fine, come 
the other infamies perpetrated under cloud of dark- 
ness, which no philosophy student ought even to 
name. " Of those who favour and forward such 
things, beware thou, O ingenuous youth, as of pitch 
and plague, and keep company only with those of 
upright and approved life, and especially thine own 
equals. And at such hours, rather shut thyself up 
in thy room as in the muses' shrine and workshop of 
thy studies, the manufactory in which to perfect and 
polish the mind ; and with bolted door, finger on lip, 
and ears stopped as with wax, forbid access and con- 
ference to those triflers and nightwalkers ! " 

Thus soberly and almost austerely did Robert 
Boyd privately exhort his students. His College 
Rules are entirely admirable, and have lost no frac- 
tion of value after three hundred years. Nor was 
this a mere exhortation, for each student had to sub- 
scribe the regulations according to a formula in which 
he promised to observe them to his utmost. Wodrow 
transcribes this formula of subscription and the names 
of fifty-one students who signed it in i6o2. Some 
of them no doubt were Scotsmen. Such names as 

MONTAUBAN (1599-1604) 123 

Martin, Warren, Walter, Birrell, Campbell, Herald 
may perhaps be deciphered from the Latin forms. 

It is observable that importance is attached to the 
*' disputations." Something like system discloses 
itself in the rules regarding them. One student in 
turn was appointed to propose the theses or questions 
for discussion, to decide the number of disputants 
{two or three in each week), and to appoint, subject 
to the professor, their order and place. Disputations 
were ordinarily held on Sunday morning.-^ The 
students criticised their fellows' discourses. These 
are points of interest, because this exercise of dispu- 
tation on theses was kept up at Glasgow College for 
many years, and it was the privilege and duty of the 
Professor of Divinity to preside. Nothing at pre- 
sent survives of this ancient custom except perhaps 
the debates of our Theological Societies. There, a 
president takes the chair, a paper (the old thesis) is 
read, and discussion ensues, and is often summed up 
by the chairman. At other times, and in a formal 
debate, there is still an affirmative and a negative as 
in the academic disputations of the middle ages. 

The method of teaching is also disclosed. The 
professor offered first his dictatum or dictate, to be 
taken down in absolute silence. Then he proceeded 
to explain the various points {docere et disserere). 
So far as I can gather, praelectio was chiefly the act 
of dictation, dlssertatio was more closely what we 
now call lecturing. Boyd seems to sum up the class- 
work in the phrase praelectionibus, dissertationibusy 
aViisque congressihus et exerciti'ts philosophicis. A 
formal and special lecture was oratio. The term 
^ The Scottish day for disputations was Saturday. 


enanare also occurs, and seems to indicate a sort of 
exposition, either by the professor or by a student. 

In some at least of our classes to-day, the same 
methods prevail. The late Professor Flint began 
each day's lecture with the formula, "Take down 
the following abstract." Then he delivered a written 
lecture, to be taken down in silence, as far as his rapid 
utterance permitted. Many students, writing short- 
hand, are able to take these dissertations verbatim. 
But the scholars of Boyd's time probably listened 
without taking notes. At any rate, such MS. note- 
books as I have seen consist almost entirely of dic- 
tated matter. The language used being Latin, there 
would be much time consumed in the task. And so 
accurate is the Latin, that one suspects that the notes 
were revised by the professor and written out fair by 
the student. Boyd bids the student bring his stylus 
and his pugillaria to class ; it is possible therefore 
that the first draught was made on tablets. It was 
the duty of the professor to supervise his students' 
notes, although the duty was probably not always 
performed. The dictates of a regent also were theo- 
retically liable to be reviewed by the Professor of 
Divinity, and sometimes heresies or improprieties 
were detected. It must of course be remembered 
that the students were boys, and even the regent was 
frequently a lad in his teens. Boyd was himself 
barely twenty-one when he gave his inaugural at 

Boyd seems to have become Principal Regent at 
Montauban, since a letter to him preserved by Wod- 
row styles him " the Right Honourable Mr. Robert 
Boyd of Trochrigg, Principall of the coUedge of 

MONTAUBAN (i 599-1604) 125 

Montauban." ^ This suggests a new title for Scot- 
tish use. The truth is that such expressions are 
but translations from the grandiloquent Latin of 
academic letters. Right Honourable is the harmless 
Honoratissimus. Right Worshipful (which we 
found in a previous case^) is Dignissimus. And 
even so, Right Reverend is Reverendissimus. For 
Very Reverend, I cannot find any equivalent. 

III. Verteuil (1604-1606) 

After his five years at Montauban, Boyd passed in 
1604 to a pastoral charge, at Verteuil, where he was 
ordained "with imposition of hands" from M. 
Pacard, father of one of his students at Montauban. 
Recording this in his Philotheca, he adds that he was 
then twenty-one years old. This would make him 
born in 1583, five years later than the date given by 
Wodrow. If this were correct, he could only have 
been sixteen when he began teaching at Montauban ! 
As he had already recorded in 1626 that it was then 
forty-five years since his father's death, and that at 
the date of the death he himself was but three years 
old, it is manifest that there was a lapse of memory 
to the extent of five years. Of course, Wodrow 
may have mistaken a numeral in Boyd's manuscript. 
And in any case, the difficulty of exact dates is well 
known as regards such periods, the ten years added 
to Knox's age being a crucial instance. It is hardly 
likely that a lad of sixteen would be appointed a 
professor even in those prodigious days. Moreover, 
the canonical age for ordination was twenty-five, very 
^ Wodrow's Life of Boyd, p. 29. ^ See suj>fa, p. 2. 


nearly what Boyd was, supposing him born in 1578. 
The imposition of hands which he so carefully note* 
was not invariably added to ordination in Scotland 
at this time, and probably many Scots pastors never 
had it at all. It is another question, and one not 
easy to decide, whether the doctors of theology, being 
without imposition of hands, ministered the sacra- 
ments. The same question arises regarding the Scots 
superintendents, like Erskine of Dun and Robert 
Pont. That both superintendents and doctors preached 
is certain ; but Melville was an elder in the Kirk 
Session of St. Andrews, and there is no likelihood 
that he ever baptized or administered the Lord's 
Supper. It may, however, be added, that no one at 
the time ever regarded superintendents or doctors as 
" laymen." 

Boyd's pastorate at Verteuil was brief, lasting less 
than two years. It was not altogether without its 
cares. He expressly records that the people of 
Verteuil "defalked from, my stipend ... 187 
pounds (livres) for the charges of Mr. Malcome's 
journey to Montauban and mine to Verteuil, and my 
journey to the coUoques and synods and my stay at 
Rochell, before my reception,"^ These were the 
expenses incurred in the prosecution of the call from 
Verteuil, and it seems hard that they should be 
charged against the young minister. But Boyd was 
ever unlucky in financial matters, as we shall see in 
the course of this narrative. Candidates for vacant 
parishes in Scotland have similar grievances to com- 
plain of even yet. Though he left Verteuil with this 
unpleasant memory, his ministry there had not been 
1 Wodrow, Life of Boyd, p. 31. 

VERTEUIL (1604- 1 606) 127 

unfruitful. It was a difficult charge, as there were 
two congregations to serve, and there was some 
jealousy which ended not long after Boyd's departure 
in a petition for disjunction. Boyd had stipulated 
for one' year's trial, with liberty to return to his 
friends thereafter. The year of probation had 
elapsed, and he had continued to labour among them. 
Then came the action of the local Synod, which 
suddenly agreed to transfer Boyd to Saumur, not of 
course without his consent. The unfortunate elders 
of Verteuil complained of this action as shewing lack 
of considerateness for a struggling church. But they 
had perforce to submit, and they did it with a good 
grace. The strict accounting which they took was 
perhaps excusable in the circumstances. They felt 
that they had been rather badly treated, and they 
visited their disappointment on Boyd, by "defalk- 
ing" from his stipend. 

The Synod of Rochelle, in which Verteuil lay, was 
apparently agitated by another difficult controversy, 
whether or not the subjects of the Roman Pontiff 
could properly be called a Church at all. A diplo- 
matic letter to the Synod from Duplessis Mornay is 
transcribed by Wodrow, in which (under date of 
March, 1607) he urges them to abandon any attempt 
to define strictly on this point, on the prudent 
grounds that if the Synod recognises the Papacy as 
a Church, it will strengthen the Papacy ; while if it 
'unchurches Rome, it will invalidate the Roman bap- 
tism, infuriate the whole Roman body, and at the 
same time offend Protestant churches which do not 
go so far. The matter, he declares, is for contro- 
versial treatises, not for canons. Canons should 


touch only things perfectly decided, not matters 
generally disputed. Therefore, he thinks it safer 
to go on as before, simply pointing out the corrup- 
tions of Rome and warning men to avoid its 
communion. His counsel was adopted, and it was 
no doubt sage. But it is a little discounted by the 
fact that he himself denounces Rome as Antichrist, 
as Apostacy, and even cnroa-Ttjima. It is worthy of 
passing conjecture, whether Boyd himself had not 
been involved in this heated dispute. If so, it would 
help to account for his speedy removal from the 
region of controversy. 

IV. Saumur ( 1 606-1 6 1 4) 

It was at any rate by the influence of Duplessis 
Mornay that Boyd received an invitation from 
Saumur in 1606 to become one of the pastors of the 
church there, and to give lectures and disputations 
in the university. This probationary trial was so 
satisfactory that in 1608 he was formally elected 
professor of Divinity at Saumur. A. Rivet says that 
he laboured there for six years, that is up to 16 14, 
and by his excessive studies " contracted a weakness 
in his stomach." ^ But it is evident that Boyd's 
ill-health had already become a fact to be reckoned 
with, for he had hardly settled in Saumur as a pastor 
when we find him obtaining leave of absence for a 
whole year, during which he drew his stipend. The 
letter of dimission and introduction granted him by 
the University of Saumur recites the fact that Boyd 
had urgently asked for leave to visit his native land 
1 Rivet's Life of Boyd, in Commentary on Ephesians. 

SAUMUR (1606-1614) 129 

and his friends after long absence. While they 
would incur much inconvenience and expense, and 
his services would be much missed in the university, 
they readily granted permission. Nothing is said of 
health, but it is probable that Boyd was homesick 
and depressed. It is noteworthy that the academic 
certificate is signed by the Rector as professor of 
Divinity, by the Principal (gymnasiarcha), and by 
the Professor of Oriental Languages.-' It is dated 
June I, 1607. In his Philotheca, accordingly, Boyd 
relates that he left Saumur on August 3, taking with 
him " 760 pounds in gold." He went straight to 
Paris, and thence visited a number of university 
towns in Germany and Holland. Thereafter he 
passed to London and travelled by land to Scotland, 
where he stayed from December, 1607, t° May, 
1608. It appears from the Commissariat Returns 
that he was served heir to his father in the lands 
of Trochrig on February 16, 1608, which gives 
another reason for his absence. On the return 
journey he visited Cambridge, and then sailed by the 
Dover-Dieppe route, reaching Saumur "in health 
and safety" on Sunday, June 28. He had spent 300 
crowns in gold. He adds the gratifying fact that he 
was immediately paid his entire salary in arrear for 
the bygone twelve months. It was 600 pounds. 
Out of it he paid his locum tenens (whom he de- 
scribes as a "proposant" or probationer) about 180 
pounds, or less than one-third. He had bought a 
number of books in his continental tour, and he 
notes the names of many booksellers and printers of 
the day, among whom are the Elzevirs. Of his 
^Wodrow's Life of Boyd, p. 55. 


Scots experiences he says not a word ; and yet it was 
a stirring time in Scotland. Melville was in the 
Tower ; many Scots ministers were in exile. The 
royal policy of the restoration of prelacy was fiilly 
disclosed. But the situation does not seem to have 
moved Boyd to any expression of feeling, and indeed 
his desire to get back to Scotland was already mould- 
ing his Church views. He had now a fairly good 
estate in Ayrshire, and naturally wished to look after 
it personally. His health was benefited by his native 
air. There were possibilities of controversial trouble 
at Saumur. His temperament was not altogether 
averse to episcopacy, as was natural in the son of a 
Bishop. Nevertheless, he settled down to his work 
at Saumur with characteristic doggedness. 

Boyd seems to have been elected Rector Magni- 
ficus almost immediately on his return to Saumur. 
The office, which still exists in continental universi- 
ties, is held in a rotation by the various professors. 
It was in this capacity that he acted as spokesman in 
conveying greetings to the Prince of Anhalt in the 
early days of 1609. A less agreeable duty fell to 
his lot when he was chosen to address a number of 
students who had rebelled against the Rector, 
Beraldus, and had even argued the point with the 
senate. Three of the offending youths are men- 
tioned by name in the portentous harangue which 
Boyd then delivered to them — Cavallius, Grivallius, 
and Langius. The rebels were exhorted to make 
public confession and apology, and to undertake to 
treat the Rector with due respect in future. It does 
not appear that they all submitted, since Boyd pre- 
served a copy of the sentence of expulsion passed 

SAUMUR (1606-1614) 131 

against two students, Palletus and Fossanus. The 
solemn formula is adorned with a distich : 

Cuncta prius tentanda, sed imtnedicabile vulnus 
Ense recidendum est, ne pars sincera trahatur. 

In English. 

When other cure is none, the surgeon's knife 
Must be employed, to save the patient's life. 

While such painful duties were imposed on him, 
there were others more gratifying. One such was 
the choice of a professor of Greek, in which Boyd 
took much interest. One of the directions given to 
the candidate for this office at his " trials " was " that 
he quit the old pronunciation, and drop the accents 
which marr the quantity of the syllables, as they do 
too generally who bind themselves with too much 
closness to the accents." There is an echo here of 
the vexed question which Melville debated with the 
famous Portus, and which Professor Blackie delighted 
to revive.^ But even over this appointment there was 
a dispute. The students also again gave trouble by 
their processions at examination times. A more 
serious incident was his enforced return to Scotland 
in 1 6 10 in order to attend to pressing business. 
Boyd on this occasion offered to resign his chair, but 
was persuaded to take a second leave of absence. 
From a letter preserved by Calderwood, it appears 
that he made application to King James for employ- 
ment, so that he might be profitable to his own 

^See supra, p. 18. Dr. Irving, in the appendix to his Lives of 
Scottish Writers, is betrayed by the incident into a long discussion 
of the question of accents and quantity. See his Lives, I. p. 175 
compared with II, p. 351. 


country and Church. But no encouragement was 
given. From this we may conclude that he had 
solicited some appointment in the King's gift ; but 
if so, the effort was vain. It is a little puzzling 
to find him at this very time in correspondence with 
Melville, then a prisoner in the Tower, Wodrow 
transcribes an intimate note from Melville to Boyd, 
dated Londini ex Arce, 23 Oct. 1610, referring 
caustically to the recent consecration of Scottish 
bishops at London, and the new nickname for 
Calvinists, viz. "Puritans." Melville addresses 
Boyd in endearing terms — suavissime Bodi. 

His efforts to secure a post in Scotland, though 
futile at the time, brought him, some six months 
after his return to Saumur, an invitation from the 
Archbishop of Glasgow to come back to Scotland. 
But the situation had swiftly changed ; he had fallen 
in love with a French lady of family. Mile. Anna 
Maliverne, to whom he was married in May, 161 1. 
He has carefully noted the cost of the jewellery 
which he gave her, as well as of various religious 
books, such as Beza's Sermons, his Meditations on 
the Seven Penitential Psalms, his Tables of Death ; 
Duplessis' Meditations ; A. Rivet's Meditations on 
the 1 1 9th Psalm ; and a lugubrious work called 
Funeralls (funerailles) of the Daughters of Sodom. 
It is a characteristic trait which moves him to describe 
his father-in-law as talis, qualis mihi narranti vix fere 
quisquam crediderit — a man whose merits were in- 
credible! Boyd was austere even in his love affairs. 
At the end of this year (161 1) he took part in the 
"trials" and admission of his cousin, Zachary Boyd, 
as a regent in philosophy at Saumur. This same 

SAUMUR (1606-1614) 133 

year, too, Melville's arrival in France is announced 
by his correspondents. Among them Dumoulin 
writes that he has seen the redoubtable old scholar, 
who is rumoured to lean to the views of Piscator.^ 
But he has not ventured to sound him on that point, 
because Melville is represented as being un peu 
cholere. Dumoulin adds that he fears Melville may 
be uneasy at Sedan, when he finds so few students 
there ; and that the reason given for the decline in 
that seminary is that Piscator's views are held by 
Tilenus, one of the leading Divinity professors there. 
This echo of the growing Arminian controversy sug- 
gests that Melville's Calvinism was already suspect 
among the French divines. A subsequent note from 
Dumoulin introduces to Boyd two' students from 
Sedan who have decided to transfer themselves to 
Saumur because of the Arminian views prevailing in 
the former College. It will be seen what anxieties 
awaited Melville in his new sphere.^ A student's 
letter from Sedan to Boyd gives a clear idea of the 
position. Melville had begun his lectures, and there 
had emerged a distinct difference of opinion between 
him and Tilenus. On the point of Justification by 
the passive obedience of Christ, he and Tilenus were 
nearly in accord ; but concerning Reprobation and 
the interpretation of Romans vii., they differed 
openly. Tilenus was the fashionable teacher ; the 
Melvillites were ridiculed as obscurantists and had 
to absent themselves from lecture. The student 
longs to return to Saumur. The number of students 
at Sedan is very small, not nearly the third part of 
those at Saumur. Melville was lecturing on Pro^ 
^See Life of Cameron, pp. 170, 171. ^See sufra, pp. 77-79. 


verbs, c. xxx. ; Tilenus on the loci communes. The 
writer little suspected that Saumur was soon to 
become the headquarters of this new theology, with 
Cameron and Amyraut as its exponents. Tilenus, 
according to Wodrow, was an enemy to Presbyterian 
government and discipline, favouring Arminian doc- 
trine and hierarchical prelacy. It is a conjunction of 
tendencies which we may note as fairly general among 
the Episcopising party in Scotland, and which gives 
a key to the cryptic movements of some leading 
divines and ecclesiastics of the troubled epoch between 
1610 and 1637. 

Boyd had a plentiful supply of news from Scot- 
land. The extracts fi-om letters transcribed by Wod- 
row, although scanty, throw light on the restlessness 
of Boyd during his stay at Saumur. There was 
growing dissatisfaction with Patrick Sharp, the 
principal and professor of Divinity in Glasgow. It 
seems probable that his removal had well-nigh been 
resolved upon at the time of Boyd's second visit to 
Scotland, in 1610, and that Boyd was even then 
regarded as his proper successor. The agitation 
against Sharp increased until in August, 16 14, Boyd 
was informed that, rather than face the Royal Com- 
mission appointed to proceed against him, Sharp had 
resigned his office. Sharp's "utter disgrace" is 
announced by a cousin of Boyd's. Another urges 
him to hasten to Scotland. The Archbishop has 
written to him. The intrigue had succeeded, and 
the Boyds were jubilant. Wodrow declares that 
Boyd hung back ; but " his friends had embarked 
*he King, and there was little left but yielding." ^ 
1 Wodrow's Life of Boyd, p. 118. 

SAUMUR (i 606-1 6 14) 135 

He left Saumur in October, 16 14, amid general 
marks of regret and esteem. Valuable presentations 
came to him from Church and College. He received 
a hundred pounds for the repairs and adornments 
executed by him on his house, and an additional 
quarter's salary into the bargain. As a memorial of 
his professorship and ministry, he was presented with 
a silver basin costing upwards of fifty crowns, and 
inscribed with his crest, name, and arms. In the 
glowing " testimonial " from the elders of Saumur, 
which accompanied these gifts, he is commended for 
his orthodoxy in doctrine and his faithfulness as a 
pastor. They would all have wished him to spend 
his life among them ; but he had told them that 
while he would have desired to stay at his post, he 
was obliged to go back to Scotland for health, and 
also on account of " the command of his superiors," 
and his love for his native land. A large company 
of colleagues and students accompanied him and his 
household some distance beyond Saumur. His pro- 
gress from that town to Glasgow occupied no less 
than three months. Leaving Saumur on October 2, 
he started from Dieppe on October 24. The passage 
money was 36s. for each person. He stayed in 
London till November 15, paying 12 s. 6d. a week 
for two rooms. His coach fare to Edinburgh was 
^24 sterling. The journey required a coach-and- 
four. It is evident that he was a person of conse- 
quence, and very much above the social rank of the 
man whom he came to replace as head of the Univer- 
sity of Glasgow, where he arrived at the end of 
Thus, at thirty-six years of age, Boyd entered on 


the scene of his chief labours as a theological teacher. 
He had many advantages — a thorough training in 
academic and in pastoral work, a considerable landed 
estate, a close alliance by birth and breeding with 
the families of Boyd and Cassillis, an ample stock of 
lectures, and a fluency and learning not excelled by 
any living teacher. But he had serious defects, as 
well — chronic dyspepsia, a wife who, though affec- 
tionate and well-born, did not love Scotland, and 
remained to the end a Frenchwoman in her language 
and habitudes, a somewhat stiff manner and temper, 
and (it may be suspected) a certain niggardliness in 
money matters which caused him to worry a good 
deal over his affairs. All these traits and circum- 
stances may be gathered from Wodrow's vivid and 
friendly pages. There is one more which arose from 
that Scots quality of intriguing and caution which, 
along with Scots pride, had long been proverbial in 
France, where so many Scottish scholars elbowed 
their way into good positions. The portrait of Boyd 
(probably painted in France, certainly copied for 
Glasgow University) suggests some at least of those 
characteristics. It is a contrast in its way to Mel- 
ville's. The latter was, though quick-tempered, gay, 
jovial, open-handed, and companionable. Boyd was 
rather saturnine and melancholy, and did not readily 
win affection. He was probably more polished, but 
less human, than his great predecessor. His appoint- 
ment by the Crown at a critical stage in the conflict 
between Presbytery and Episcopacy placed him at 
once in a position of cruel perplexity, which lasted 
to the end of his life. He was at heart a Presby- 
terian, yet he owed his chair to a monarch bent on 

SAUMUR (1606-1614) 137 

Prelacy. He hated Arminianism, yet he was called 
to co-operate with Arminian dignitaries. He claimed 
a suitable provision for the University and its 
teachers, and found the Court pursuing a policy which 
spelled disendowment. Some such circumstances as 
the foregoing help to account for the rather depressing 
features of his brief tenure of office as Principal and 
Professor, with which v/e must now deal. 

V. Boyd in Glasgow University (161 5-1 621) 

Boyd's actual residence as Principal and Professor 
of Divinity began, as has been seen, on December 3 1 , 
1 6 14, and it ended in September, 1621. Baillie's 
account of this period is full of flattering generalities. 
For the first four years, he says, all went well. His 
regents, among whom was David Dickson, were 
sympathetic. The best traditions of Melville and 
Smeaton were not only maintained but bettered. His 
habits of excessive toil and study remained un- 
changed ; he laboured " from morning till midnight 
and sometimes longer, save only a few hours for the 
necessary refection of nature and the dispatch of the 
exercises of his place." He was as ascetic in food as 
any dyspeptic student could be. In private intercourse, 
Baillie admits that he was "not fit for all company, 
nor for any company at all seasons." But he was 
courteous, and among his intimate friends, he was 
" sometimes very pleasant and cheerful." He was a 
strict disciplinarian, exhibiting severity, earnestness, 
authority, charity and prudence. He had a look 
which was more persuasive than the sharpest chastise- 
ment. His habit of solemn prayer after the exercise 


of discipline, " drew rivers of tears from some of his 
hearers." ^ The prayers were in Latin, and, it may 
be supposed, produced less effect on others. Baillie 
declares that thirty years have not obliterated the 
delight with which he recalls those solemn prayers. 

Boyd, however, declined to preside at the students' 
disputations — that " problematicall sporting with 
Divinity by young men," as Wodrow puts it — 
because he thought them beneath the dignity of the 
subject. But Baillie assigns two other reasons, the 
small number of Divinity students, and the compara- 
tive novelty in Glasgow of such disputations, how- 
ever familiar abroad. He adds that Boyd had a 
contempt for that sort of argumentative theologians, 
who had, he thought, unwisely revived in Theology 
the ars quodlibetistica of the Scholastics, and the yet 
older ars sophistica of philosophers in general. He 
was rather inaccessible and repellent to his scholars. 
His well-known devotion to study and his furrowed 
and severe brow seldom encouraged them to invade 
his seclusion. But any really earnest student who 
gained his confidence found a lifelong friend. He 
frankly regarded the ordinary student as a trifler. 

Baillie considers that Boyd's strength lay in Prac- 
tical Divinity, and especially in Casuistry ; and he 
offers as an example the discussion on chapter vi. 
of Ephesians, concerning the Christian's conflicts 
with the Devil. It is curious to note that David 
Dickson afterwards made his own reputation in 
Casuistry, and George Sinclair by his volume on 

^ Wodrow's Life of Boyd, p. 126 ; but his translation of Baillie 
is rather free. Baillie only goes so far as to say that he himself 
wept. See his yfti Lectoretn Epistola. 

GLASGOW UNIVERSITY (1615-1621) 139 

Satan's Invisible Works discovered. In regard to 
Boyd's manner of lecturing, interesting particulars 
are given. For one thing, he "prelected" twice a 
week for an hour and a half, not dictating, but 
speaking almost entirely without book. The very 
quotations from Greek and Latin fathers were 
delivered without hesitation from his vast memory, 
except for an occasional long passage out of 

Thus far Baillie, a former student and enthusiastic 
friend, whose character and policy strongly resembled 
those of his master. Boyd found things somewhat 
in confusion when he arrived. The principal's house 
was in bad repair, and he and his family had to accept 
the hospitality of Sir George Elphinston, and after 
a three or four weeks' stay, to take refuge in 
rooms. The Corporation of Glasgow paid the rent, 
with coal and candle, but board came to fourteen 
merks a week, a considerable charge as times went. 
It was only in late autumn of this year that they got 
entry into the official house. The new Principal 
gives an account of his Inaugural Address, which 
represented his " trials." After its delivery, the 
Archbishop as Chancellor produced to the senate the 
King's presentation, and he was formally admitted. 
In accepting the charge, he made certain stipulations. 
He would take " a trial of it for one year " ; this 
seems to have been his ordinary custom. He would 
not undertake all the duties assigned to the Principal 
in the Nova Erectio, which he thought no one man 
could properly perform ; but would do only so much 

1 All the foregoing is from Baillie's AdLectorem Eplstola, in Boyd's 
Commentary on Ephesians. The letter is dated 1651. 


as his infirm health and small strength permitted. 
In particular, he begged to be excused the duty of 
personally chastising the students, of eating at the 
college table, "etc." What his etc. meant it is not 
easy to say. It included, no doubt, the presiding at 
disputations, probably also the supervision of the 
regents' prelections, and the entertainment of scholars 
at the college meals. It was certainly a bad begin- 
ning of his career in Glasgow, a city which has always 
loved hospitality and approachableness. The youth- 
ful students, however, gained something by his 
refusal to whip them, since probably they escaped in 
this way at least some well-deserved chastisement. 
We know, of course, that Melville the younger got 
into great trouble by his hearty drubbing of an idle 
student ; but the regents as a rule did not inflict 
corporal punishment.^ It is possible that Boyd's 
success with the students might have been greater 
had he wielded a vigorous rod. Robert Blair was 
present at these opening proceedings, being a newly 
made Master of Arts. He describes the deep im- 
pression made on his mind by Boyd's address. The 
speaker raised the question why he, a gentleman of 
competent estate, should undertake "so painful a 
calling as both to profess Divinity in the schools 
and teach people also by his ministry." His answer 
was that, "considering the great wrath under which 
he lay naturally, and the great salvation purchased to 
him by Jesus Christ, he had resolved to spend himself 

^See supra, p. 103 ; Melville's Diary, pp. 69-72. Coutts says 
that Sharp had done the birchings, but was " inured to it as 
master of the Grammar School before he became principal." 
Coutts' History of the University of Glasgow, p. 85. 

GLASGOW UNIVERSITY (i 6 1 5-1 621) 141 

to the uttermost, giving all diligence to glorify that 
Lord who had so loved him." " I thought to my- 
self," adds Blair, " there is a man of God, one among 
a thousand ! " The reflections of a later time may 
suggest that Boyd had earnestly solicited the appoint- 
ment, and had accepted every possible influence from 
his family connections and his friends in order to 
procure it from the Crown. The salary was 2000 
merks yearly, a very large income for the time ; the 
Corporation gave other 500 merks to repair the 
official house, and paid his rent till it was fit for 
occupation. His salary at Saumur was about a third 
of that which was promised at Glasgow. We cannot 
but suspect some exaggeration in his sentiments, and 
admire the ingenuous faith of young Robert Blair. 

As soon as he came to Glasgow, he employed a 
tutor for three months to teach Mrs. Boyd English. 
The fee paid was not magnificent, being " an Angelet, 
value 10 merks." On October 15, he records the 
birth of his daughter Anne, named after Mrs. Boyd. 
They had only been three days in the new house. 
Already, care was riding hard behind the new 
Gymnasiarch. A letter from William Scott of Elie 
urges him to swallow his " miscontentment," and to 
recognise that, after all his friends had done for him, 
he should " digest the same ad tempus." A greater 
place would erelong be provided for him ; Andrew 
Melville had stayed only " three or four years " (this 
was a blunder, for Melville stayed six), and then was 
called to St. Andrews. In any case, he should stand 
to his word, for did not David in the fifteenth Psalm 
applaud the man who keeps his oaths, even though 
he is a loser by his bargain.? This letter is fairly 


outspoken, and proves that already Boyd was repent- 
ing of his departure from Saumur. Another letter, 
from Archbishop Spottiswood, deals with the question 
of a house for the Principal, and incidentally discloses 
that Boyd's landlord, Archibald Muir, had got into 
trouble for harbouring John Ogilvie, a priest. It is 
creditable to Boyd that he appears to have interceded 
with Spottiswood for relief of Muir's fine. Ogilvy, 
however, suffered a heavier penalty, being hung on 
March lo, 1615.^ The incident casts a sombre light 
on Boyd's early surroundings in Glasgow, as well as 
on Spottiswood's harsh policy and temper as Arch- 
bishop of that diocese, and head of the High 

Boyd seems to have kept aloof from ecclesiastical 
politics. He was engrossed in his huge work on 
the Epistle to the Ephesians, which he had begun 
at Saumur. It was encyclopedic in its plan, and soon 
after publication became known as a veritable 
thesaurus. The General Assembly knew him not ; 
even his pulpit duties at Govan were not infrequently 
taken by David Dickson, one of the regents. He 
had also many cares connected with the struggling 
University. His staunch friend, Scott of Elie, writ- 
ing in 161 6, sends him cheering and flattering 
messages from himself and the Archbishop. Scott 
advises him to keep quiet, exercising his calling for 
a year to come ; " thereafter cum tempore to take 
novum consilium." ^ Wodrow declares that his 
reputation increased, and attracted, among others, 

1 Bellesheim's Hist, of the Catholic Church in Scotland, trans. 1889, 
III. 417. 

^Wodrow's Life of Boyd, p. 132. 

GLASGOW UNIVERSITY (i 6 1 5-1 621) 143 

some foreign students. The Munimenta does not 
bear out this statement. Boyd's diary gradually 
ceases to be more than an account of his expenses, 
a sign that pecuniary anxieties were not wanting. 
Wodrow describes his expenditure, after taking up 
residence, as not sparing, but suitable to his station ; 
but " wine at five shillings Scots per chopin " does 
not indicate any splendour of hospitality. He gave, 
however, largely to charitable objects, especially to 
the relief of poor scholars from Flanders and else- 
where. His largest item was for books, one hundred 
pounds a year. The housekeeping at the College 
was apparently managed by himself, his wife's ignor- 
ance of the language being a hindrance. Most of 
his purchases for the house in furniture, pewter, 
clothes, medicine, candles, etc., were made in Edin- 
burgh ; Glasgow apparently could not supply them 
so well. His horse-hire for Govan cost him eight- 
pence a week. The royal visit to Glasgow in 161 7 
put him to much expense. He had to receive the 
King as he passed through, and deliver an address as 
Academiae Primarius. This royal visit must have 
been an important interlude, for it was formally 
recorded in "The Muses' Welcome to the King's 
Majestic," published at Edinburgh In 161 8, in which 
there is a poem by Boyd, in addition to the text of 
his loyal address.^ He took a characteristic interest 
in the financial affuirs of the College, which Sharp 
had left in confusion. We have seen that he was in 
money matters careful and even meticulous. 

In 1 61 8 he had the honour of entertaining the 
Archbishop and the presbytery to dinner, which, he 
1 A copy of The Muses' Welcome is in St. Andrews. 


notes, cost him ten pounds. Incidentally, it appears 
that he paid a poor-rate of twelve pence a month. 
A slender ray of light is cast on Boyd's relations 
with the Court by his correspondence with John 
Young, a relative of Peter Young, the King's pre- 
ceptor, ^ whose very courtier-like letters, in a mixture 
of English, dog Latin, and equally canine Greek, 
shew that Boyd was hankering after the principalship 
of St. Andrews University, and that he made but 
poor progress in Court favour. Nevertheless, he at 
length recovered from the Exchequer the cost of his 
removal from France, three hundred pounds sterling. 
It appears that Buckingham had used his influence 
with the King to secure this. It was just in time, 
for the Perth Articles were about to be adopted, and 
after that, Boyd's star steadily declined. He found 
himself clearly involved with the party opposed to 
the Court, and his days were filled with care and 
perplexity. Though the Synod of Dort in 1618 had 
condemned Arminianism, the General Assembly of 
Perth in the same year imposed certain ceremonies 
which were associated with the condemned theology, 
as well as with Episcopal pretensions. 

It is not impossible to detect the causes which 
turned Boyd from a waverer into a partisan, in spite 
of his abstinence from General Assemblies and his 
obstinately retired life. One cause certainly was his 
intimate friendship with Robert Bruce, the leader of 
the Anti-prelatists. Another was very probably his 
silent dislike to the Archbishop of Glasgow and his 
interfering ways. A third was his distrust of the 
theological tendencies of the Episcopal party, who 
1 Afterwards Dean of Winchester. 


were creatures of Archbishop Bancroft, as they were 
afterwards of Laud. However, his partisanship was, 
after all, not too stiff to prevent him from keeping 
the door slightly ajar for preferment. An unfor- 
tunate incident deepened his distaste for episcopal 
interference. An election was to have been made to 
a vacant regent's place, when Boyd was suddenly 
called away to his mother's sick-bed at Trochrigg. 
Meantime one of the competitors chanced to offend 
the Archbishop by some allusion in his sermon or 
conc'io ; and the right reverend autocrat "railed out 
strangely " against the unlucky candidate, apparently 
claiming by his episcopal authority the right to 
exclude him from the competition.^ 

At this same juncture, a door seemed to open for 
Boyd to escape from his Scottish entanglements. His 
friends at Saumur had heard that he was in trouble, 
and offered to send him a formal invitation to become 
Professor of Divinity there, with Cameron as his 
colleague. But there were disputes at Saumur also, 
over the rejection by the " examinators " of another 
candidate, as well as (in some degree) over the ques- 
tion of Cameron's orthodoxy ; it was suspected that 
Cameron favoured the " new theology " of Arminius 
and Piscator. Wodrow confesses that he has no 
knowledge of Boyd's reply to this flattering overture, 
except the negative fact that Boyd remained in Glas- 
gow. The archives of Saumur will doubtless clear 
up this point. But it would have been interesting 
to see Boyd and Cameron together as colleagues. A 
letter from one of the professors of philosophy at 
Saumur expresses approval of Boyd remaining in 
1 Wodrow's Life of Boyd, p. 146. 


Glasgow, since Mrs. Boyd has acquired English, and 
her Father is deceased, while her brother has gone 
back to Rome ; Scotland also is in peace, while 
Saumur is threatened with tempests. He has 
observed a comet which portends some events tristia 
et infausta, either in France or in South Germany! 
He would like Boyd to report the comet's wander- 
ings, so as to calculate its parallax. Thus astro- 
logically did men of learning and religion think at 
that time. 

Meantime, Boyd was " keeping fasts " with Robert 
Bruce and others, and attending conferences held at 
the house of Lady Boyd. It was a " day of dark- 
ness," because the Five Ai-ticles of Perth had at last 
touched the very nerve of Presbyterian consciences. 
Prelacy they had managed to endure, though reluc- 
tantly: constant moderators had been submitted to. 
The Courts of High Commission had been allowed 
to pass. But when it came to kneeling at Com- 
munion and other ceremonies imposed by law, the 
faithful were shaken to the soul. That brought 
popery very near, for it was the most striking 
symbolism of the Mass. Even Melville had pre- 
ferred a harmless deceit to the removal of his cap 
as the Host passed.^ Boyd's mind was made up on 
this point ; he refused to give his support to the 
Articles. He was not left in doubt as to the feeling 
which this attitude of his aroused at Court. His 
friend. Sir George Elphinston, writes in October, 
1620, that Dr. Young, whose courtier-like expres- 
sions were noted on a previous page,^ gives no hope ; 
the King is " hotly set on edge." Sir George wishes 
1 See su/>ra, p. 25. ^ See su/>ra, p. 144. 

GLASGOW UNIVERSITY (i 6 1 5-1 62 1) 147 

that Boyd had never gone to Glasgow, since he 
would not conform ; plainly enough he regards 
Boyd's scruples as coming somewhat Tate in the day. 
He hints that safety may be found only in retirement 
to " a private corner." Boyd's cousin, then Bishop 
of Argyll, sends him a note by special messenger, 
urging him to conform ; " it is no fit time to main- 
tain any separation in the true Christian Church," he 
says. Sir George writes again in October, 1621, 
declaring that he had just got audience of the King, 
and that his Majesty had complained much of Boyd's 
attitude. The King pointed out that he had given 
Boyd preferment, paying the expenses of his coming 
to Glasgow ; and now Boyd is most unkind in 
hindering his Majesty's service, on account of matters 
which his Majesty "knows ye think indifferent (not 
essential)." He is given his choice between con- 
formity to the Articles, along with the gift of higher 
office, any office he may aspire to ; and retirement in 
the country or, if he chooses, residence abroad. This 
letter, coming from a devoted friend, clearly discloses 
the view taken by King James of Boyd's appointment 
to Glasgow. As we have already seen, Boyd had 
long been seeking some office at home, either at 
Glasgow or at St. Andrews. He accepted the Glas- 
gow post with full knowledge of the King's policy 
of a uniform Church government, worship, and 
discipline for England and Scotland. He knew that 
Melville and many others had preferred exile to such 
a policy ; yet he came, took the King's money, and 
now refiased to help him at a pinch. The grounds 
of Boyd's present resistance were such as already 
existed before he came over from Saumur. It is an 


unanswerable indictment, though Wodrow tries to 
answer it. But Wodrow in his haste assumes that 
to the King these ceremonies were indifferent. Sir 
George Elphinston says no such thing, but rather 
indicates the opposite. The King had judged from 
Boyd's acceptance of his bounty, that Boyd regarded 
Episcopacy and its forms as open questions. 

After such a direct message, only one course was 
open to the harassed Principal. He sought an inter- 
view with his Archbishop, and intimated very plainly 
and even sternly his resolution to resign rather than 
be dismissed. 

The careful notes left by Boyd of what he said to 
the Archbishop form a valuable document in the study 
of his character. He gave five reasons for his resig- 
nation, of which one was " compulsatory," and the 
rest were " impulsatory." The first is health ; the 
" double charge " (as Professor and Minister of 
Govan) is more than his strength can support. The 
second is his utter dislike to "scholastic function 
or superintendence over scholars " ; by which he 
means frankly the oversight and correction of the 
students. He has never himself " put his hand " to 
the chastisement of the scholars ; but he is convinced, 
by his six or seven years' experience, that it is 
absolutely necessary for the principal to do so, if 
" good manners " are to be obtained. It is evident 
from this that the Glasgow students had been grow- 
ing unruly in the absence of corporal punishment. 
But he cannot overcome his repugnance to the task. 
His third reason is that he has "another stick of 
work to do," meaning his Commentary on Ephesians. 
This he is hindered in accomplishing by the burden 

GLASGOW UNIVERSITY (i6 1 5- 1 621 ) 149 

and expense of his present office. The fourth reason 
is creditable to his courage and frankness ; it is that 
he finds it impossible to go on with any hope of 
peace and friendship. He has made up his mind to 
preserve unchanged every custom, ceremony, and 
discipline in which he was brought up under men 
like Melville, Welsh, and others, until the proposed 
changes have been approved by the "whole kirk of 
this kingdom," and adopted "freely, willingly, un- 
compelledly, resolvedly and peaceably." He cannot 
accept the "Canons of your pretended Assembly." 
And he feels it his duty to express those sentiments 
more frequently and fully to his hearers, than he ever 
did before. This would, of course, create an in- 
tolerable friction between himself and the Archbishop. 
The last reason he describes as being a worldly one ; 
it is that he has wife and children (the wife also being 
" a stranger (foreigner) ") to provide for. His family 
estate of Trochrigg has suffered badly in his twelve 
years' absence from it. Should he die, his wife and 
children will be left destitute " in a strange land " 
(an odd expression from a Scotsman!). It is true 
that at Glasgow he has a larger income and easier 
access to the "necessities" of life than in "a bare 
landwart place far from a Burrows town." But he 
"had rather with the bird have freedom . . . than 
to be pent up in a cage and have meat and chear laid 
to my hand." Besides, if he has more at Glasgow, 
he spends more, and can save nothing, although 
neither he nor his wife is extravagant. Also his 
position is unstable ; he may be deprived of it at any 
moment, and, at best, he cannot leave it to his 


These are the points which Boyd submitted to 
Archbishop Law " in his own bedchamber, the 24 of 
March, 1621, remotis arbitris." He added a refer- 
ence to the charge of Govan. It seems he had asked 
for it, but since then his views had changed ; he 
now thinks that he was wrong. It is too much for 
one man to be both Principal of the University and 
Minister at Govan. Still, if relieved of the prin- 
cipalship, he would not refuse to undertake the 
separate charge, although it is worth only five or six 
hundred merks a year. He will not, however, deign 
to make formal request for it, and the Archbishop 
may do with it as he thinks fit. But he advises that, 
in future, the two offices should be kept apart, and 
that the Nova Erectio should be amended so as to 
permit of this. 

This important paper (the preservation of which 
is one of our many debts to the indefatigable 
Wodrow) reveals in Boyd a sentiment of deep dis- 
appointment, if not of positive disgust, with the 
existing situation. He even describes his duties in 
the oversight of students as " loathsome " and " hate- 
fuh" He views the Episcopal innovations as 
unwarranted and intolerable. He frankly disparages 
the pecuniary advantages of his office. He regards 
himself as a stranger in a strange land, so Frenchified 
had he become by his long stay abroad and by his 

His action had been long deliberated, and it came 
only just in time ; for next month, April, 1621, on 
Easter Day, at the time of the sacramental celebra- 
tions in Glasgow, there occurred a scene which made 
his further continuance in office impossible. The 

GLASGOW UNIVERSITY (1615-1621) 151 

Archbishop himself officiated at the Holy Com- 
munion in the Cathedral, where many students were 
present, including Livingstone and Blair. Living- 
stone in his autobiography says that the Archbishop 
urged all the communicants at the table to kneel in 
receiving the elements. He and two or three other 
students refused, and Livingstone even remonstrated. 
The Archbishop ordered them to leave the table. 
Blair relates that Boyd, on hearing of this remarkable 
incident, summoned his regents to accompany him, 
and waited on the Archbishop, whom he " admon- 
ished and reproved " for driving from the Lord's 
Table godly young men. Boyd told the prelate also 
that he had behaved to the students as if " removing 
his houseboy from the by-board." ^ The Archbishop 
was at first dumb with indignation, but recovering at 
length he indulged in some "very high words." 
Whereupon, Boyd left him with the exclamation, " I 
will not sit in Rome and strive with the pope ! " 

A deadlier affront cannot be put on any Scotsman 
than to debar him from the Holy Communion with- 
out scandal being alleged or proved against him. 
Yet this is what the Archbishop had done in the case 
of those Divinity students. Boyd, however, promptly 
sought to make amends. He summoned to his pre- 
sence Livingstone, the spokesman of the noncon- 
formist students in the Cathedral, and after 
announcing that he was going to celebrate the Com- 
munion in his church at Govan, desired Livingstone 
to bring along with him on that occasion " any that 
I knew to be well-affected young men in Glasgow 
colledge." Blair, who was present at the interview 
1 Wodrow's Life of Boyd, p. 261. 


between the Archbishop and Boyd described above, 
indicates that the recusants were afterwards marked 

Boyd had by this time decided to resign his office, 
and had begun to transfer his household gear to Troch- 
rigg. Thither he also sent his wife and family. All 
that remained was to obtain discharge of his intro- 
missions with College property and papers ; and in 
reference to this he records an ugly incident, in a 
letter to his wife in October, 1621. Some "rogues" 
had broken into his house the Sunday before, and 
stolen from his closet or study certain deeds belong- 
ing to the College. He is much upset, as the senate 
seem disposed to blame him. Wodrow suggests that 
after Easter, 1621, the partisans of Archbishop Law 
had subjected Boyd to constant annoyance. The 
latter himself writes to his wife, in terms almost 
despairing, of the "labyrinth" in which he is in- 
volved, the "insupportable burden," the "terror, 
troubles, sadness, cares and fears, distractions and mis- 
content." His " back-friends " (i.e. friends who have 
betrayed him) are demanding the replacement of the 
lost deeds. The letter, like many others from his 
pen, betrays a frail, irritable, and hypochrondiac 
temper. We cannot wonder that even a warm sym- 
pathiser like Livingstone describes him as " a man of 
sour-like disposition and carriage." 

At last, his formal meetings with the Archbishop 
(Chancellor), and the visitors of the College, were 
completed, and he obtained a full discharge. His 
connection with the CoUege was finally severed, as at 
October i, 1621, after he had been principal and 
professor of Divinity for six years. 

GLASGOW UNIVERSITY (i 6 1 5-1 621) 153 

It cannot be said that Boyd was a conspicuous 
success in Glasgow. He never became popular 
among the students. With his colleagues, the 
regents, he was rather distant and awe-inspiring. 
He was undoubtedly respected for his learning and 
eloquence, and his austere and ascetic habits invited 
a degree of reverence which is reflected in the utter- 
ances of his former students. Baillie, who was the 
best known of them, took an active part in the 
publication of Boyd's monumental Commentary, 
which was probably completed in Glasgow, though 
it remained in MS. until 1652 ; and Baillie emphati- 
cally regarded his master as among the most eminent 
of the Reformed Divines.^ But even on Baillie, the 
chief impression made by Boyd as a professor was 
one of tremendous gravity and even sternness. He 
recalls long after the furrowed brow and distant 
manners of his chief. On the whole, either from the 
business point of view or from that of social inter- 
course, Boyd never proved efficient. He was not at 
home in Glasgow. His heart was in gentle and 
polished France, above all in Saumur, where he had 
formed such close ties. I'he abruptness and even 
violence of Scots manners distressed him. By in- 
stinct and breeding he was a courtier ; by conviction 
he was a democrat. The Episcopisers wrote to the 
King that he had joined the " Puritans." The truth 
is that he was always among them in spirit. And 
the times were entirely against him and the school to 
which he clung in Church matters. With all his 
sternness, too, he was in reality a waverer through 
life, incapable of saying a decisive No ! at the proper 
^See Baillie's Letters, III. 226. 


time, and hence driven into situations in which both 
parties felt aggrieved. 

Nevertheless, he is the greatest scholar of the long 
line of the professors of Divinity in Glasgow. His 
command of the classic tongues was unrivalled even 
by Melville. As a theologian, he cannot claim the 
same place, though his place is a very exalted one ; 
for he lacks the note of independent thinking and of 
humanness. But he remains one of Glasgow's 
greatest academic figures, though his temperament 
and his sorrowful career make him the Hamlet of our 
College history. 

VI. Edinburgh University (1622) 

Probably no storm-tossed sailor ever reached land 
more thankfully than the displaced Robert Boyd 
when he found himself, after so many wanderings, 
safe at home in Trochrigg. He had at last escaped 
from the fumum strepitusque Romae, if the quota- 
tion be not too disproportionate to a city like Glasgow 
in 1 62 1. True, Trochrigg was a "bare landwart 
place." It was far from any market town. But it 
was practically his native place and air ; and for a 
year he breathed deep content. But the respite was 
short, not only because of the exertions of his friends, 
but also (and perhaps primarily) because he was him- 
self unable to throw off the longing for work. 
Almost in the act of winding up his affairs at Glas- 
gow, we find him responding in a languid way to the 
suggestion that he should return. The King was 
anxious to secure Cameron for that city as Boyd's 
successor in the College ; but Cameron at first 


shewed himself unwilling. Then came the resigna- 
tion of the principal at Edinburgh, and an immediate 
and strong movement there to invite Boyd to become 
principal-professor of Divinity in his room. From a 
letter of Archbishop Spottiswood of St. Andrews, it 
seems that there was at the same time some desire to 
place him in the corresponding position in St. 
Andrews.^ But Spottiswood spoke distinctly of 
"" conformity " as a condition. Even Zachary Boyd, 
now in Edinburgh, says : " The greatest difficulty 
will be conformity." The usual haze of uncertainty 
surrounds Boyd's movements and mind at this period. 
One would have thought, after his Glasgow experi- 
ence, that he would now make himself perfectly clear 
■on the question of the Articles of Perth. Instead of 
this, however, he rather ambiguously accepted the 
appointment at Edinburgh from the Town Coimcil, 
-who were patrons subject to the Crown. They 
agreed to provide a salary of 1200 merks, with 200 
merks more for house rent. He was to be one of 
the eight city ministers as well as professor of 

Boyd has left another long draft of his thoughts 
at this crisis, as he delivered them to the Town 
Council when taking the oath de fideli. He begins 
this paper with the sentence, "Our help is in the 
name of the Lord, who made the heaven and the 
•earth. Amen." In painfully long sentences he pro- 
fesses his keen sense of his unworthiness and of the 
importance and difficulty of the new office. When 
lie laid down his charge at Glasgow owing to his 

iWodrow's Life of Boyd (letter to Boyd from Spottiswood, 
Oct. 17, 1622), p. 174. 


being " overweighted," he did not mean by that act 
to withdraw himself from doing his duty by his native 
land. But he was a man bruised and broken by the 
sorrows and " tentations " of life, and especially by 
the sad trials of his people in the afflicted Church of 
France. " For why," he adds, " shall I not for ever 
both count and call them my people .'' " Yet he never 
meant to do more than retire into private life for a 
season, that he might mourn and pray for his dis- 
tressed brethren in France. "Thir (these) are our 
only armes for their help and relief." That was his 
" mint and aim." He speaks of himself as being a 
man in his declining days (he was only forty-four), 
*' worn not with age but rather with watchfull (sleep- 
less) care and untimely study and lucubration." But 
the proof that he had no intention to desert the battle 
was, that this was the first overture of any public 
employment made to him by his friends with any 
likelihood of success. He dared not reject it. He 
dared not sustain hereafter a " greater challenge " by 
" flying to Tarsis (Tarshish) there to lurk and lament, 
whereas He is sending me to Niniveh to do His 
work." This was perhaps a somewhat damping 
comparison for Edinburgh. 

But now here he was, where he first began "to 
learn Christ " under that " happy and glorious soul," 
Robert RoUock, first m.aster of the College of Edin- 
burgh. And therefore good reason it were that he 
should labour to do some good where he got most 
o-ood ! Yet he must ask indulgence in some points. 
First, the most he can undertake is one lecture a 
week in the College, and one service every Sunday 
in church. He must beg to be entirely excused 


from the actual administration of discipline. He 
declaims vehemently against the impropriety of a 
professor of Divinity being "fashed and vexed, 
grieved and wearyed, troubled, tempted and dis- 
tempered any way by the faults and follys of insolent 
youth." He had never, even as a young man at 
Montauban, undertaken the chastisement of scholars. 
At Glasgow he had delegated this task to the regents. 
At Glasgow, it is true, his predecessor (Patrick Sharp) 
had acted otherwise, but this was simply " continuing 
his wonted custom wherunto he was ennured in the 
Grammar school, wherfra he was taken to be prin- 
cipall of the college." While he would ever take 
care that the students were kept " in awe and order," 
he would suggest that the actual chastisement be 
entrusted to the eldest regent acting as " sub-primar," 
or that each regent be left to deal with his class under 
the principal's direction. 

Second, he thought it reasonable that he should 
have the two months' vacation then customary, not 
only from lecturing but also from preaching. 

Thirdly, he stipulated for a probation of one year, 
or a year and a half. 

His closing words contained a veiled promise of 
*' conformity." He would go thus far, that he pro- 
mised to avoid, as far as in him lay, all strife with 
brethren of " whatever either judgment or practise in 
these matters," as he had done all through his life. 

From contemporary materials, it appears that the 
magistrates had elected without previously securing 
the King's approval. They had Spottiswood's con- 
sent as Archbishop, but only subject to His Majesty's 
will. They were not unanimous, although the Town 


Council's minutes bear no trace of that fact. On the 
23rd November, 1622, almost as soon as the postal 
arrangements of the day permitted, there came a 
warrant from the King, expressing astonishment that 
they should have appointed a man " deposed from 
his ministry " for disobedience " to the King's laws in 
matter of kneeling at the sacrament," and command- 
ing them to require Boyd to conform to those laws or 
be expelled from his place. The magistrates in haste 
appealed to Archbishop Spottiswood to use his in- 
fluence. One may strongly suspect that that pre- 
late's intervention was lukewarm. At any rate, 
on January 29, 1623, there came a fresh and harsher 
despatch from the King, reproaching the magistrates 
for their disobedience, and peremptorily directing 
that Boyd should be summoned before the Council 
and required to conform. If he refused, they must 
expel him, his wife and family, from Edinburgh, or 
subject themselves to the royal censure. 

Boyd was summoned at once to confer with the 
magistrates, who were accompanied by some of the 
Edinburgh city ministers. He was urged to give a 
distinct undertaking to conform to the Perth Articles. 
Never was a poor scholar more hunted, or driven into 
a corner. All evasions were at an end. Boyd as 
usual showed grit when hard pressed, though it must 
be owned that he might well have foreseen the 
lamentable pass to which he had now brought himself. 
He declared that he could not conscientiously agree 
to conform. Thereupon, he demitted his office, after 
holding it for less than four months. 

Row and Calderwood, as quoted by Wodrow from 
MS. copies of their histories, both attribute this 


result to envy on the part of colleagues in the 
ministry. According to the former " the honest 
people liked Boyd so well that he was suffered onely 
to remain in Edinburgh about five months " ; while 
Calderwood roundly asserts that Mr. Andro Ramsay 
envied him because " sundry noblemen, lawyers, and 
countrymen who came upon occasion to the town, 
resorted frequently to Mr. Robert's lessons (lectures) 
in the schools and sermons in the kirk, and not to 
his (Mr. Andro Ramsay's) lessons, howbeit both 
taught in one college and in one kirk." The 
" honest people " of Row were, of course, those whcx 
supported the Presbyterian cause, and the " country- 
men" of Calderwood may have corresponded to our 
landed gentry or " county people." Such persons, 
then and for two centuries at least afterward, had 
their " season " in Edinburgh. One can understand 
the passions which Ivirked in Mr. Ramsay's breast. 
The printed copies of Row and Calderwood, how- 
ever, have not reproduced this interesting gossip.^ 

Boyd again retired to his home at Trochrigg, but 
Mrs. Boyd seems to have been allowed to remain a 
few months in Edinburgh, no doubt for domestic 
reasons. But he was not long left in peace. His 
friend Dr. Sibbald made such exertions that a very 
strong effort was set on foot to secure his return to 
his old office in Glasgow. Cameron had come and 
gone, like a meteor, and the place was vacant. It 
is true that Dr. Strang, a cousin of the Glasgow 
Archbishop, was in the field ; he even solicited Boyd's 

^See Wodrow's Life of Boyd, pp. 189, 190 ; Row's History, 
p. 127; Calderwood's History, VII. 569. The editors assiga 
reasons for omitting these passages. 


support of his candidature. But very powerful per- 
sonages were induced to take part in the fresh 
intrigue, among whom Wodrow, on the evidence of 
letters from them, mentions the Duke of Bucking- 
ham, the Duke of Lennox, Sir William Alexander, 
Sir George Elphinston, and Dr. Young. The Scots 
bishops and the noble family of Boyd were also 
involved. Meantime, Boyd had been summoned 
before the Privy Council for some misdemeanour 
(no doubt nonconformity), and had been commanded 
to confine himself to the bounds of Carrick. He 
was, however, allowed to visit Glasgow in October, 
1624, without molestation, in order to place his son 
Robert at College, and it was during this secret visit 
that his friends persuaded him to subscribe an under- 
taking that he would conform to the Perth Articles. 
This document will be found in Wodrow, and is 
perhaps the most unhappy illustration of Boyd's 
peculiar temperament. It recites that he has acted 
on information and arguments from "ane Reverend 
Father in God, James, Archbishop of Glasgow and 
some other my loving friends " : that he has more 
deeply weighed his duty of employing his talents for 
the Church : that his nonconformity has hitherto 
been the " chiefest lett and hinderance to this " ; and 
that he now finally promises obedience " in due time 
and place." The document is dated October 25, 

Boyd has noted, as usual, certain stipulations to 
be made if he were reappointed to his chair in Glas- 
gow. They are, that he shall not be required to 
lectxu-e more than once a week on the common 
heads in Divinity : that he shall not be expected to 


preach more than once, on each Sunday, at 7 a.m., 
and shall have the usual vacation free, from " Laurea- 
tion to Lukesmass":^ that he be excused from 
chastising the students, and from taking the exercise 
or common head in presbytery. He will also stipu- 
late for the teind hay at Govan for his " naig." The 
stipend to be as before, " only defalking (deducting) 
the glebe and small teinds." The house to be 
repaired at his own direction. He will ask the Town 
to pay his removal-expenses, and to grant a burgess 
ticket to his manservant, so that he may exercise his 
craft in the town. 

All this is rather discouraging to any attempt to 
picture Boyd as a martyr to conscience. Even Wod- 
row ventures only to suggest that it reveals Boyd's 
yielding temper and moderation. The latter, how- 
ever, in the private memorandum just summarised, 
speaks of his own " simplicity and weakness." The 
term simplicity in the usage of that day did not, of 
course, mean absolute lack of worldly acuteness ; it 
suggested rather what we know as sincerity. It is 
tolerably plain that Boyd was confident of being 
reponed in Glasgow, before he signed his promise 
of submission ; he is seen even calculating the spoils. 

The intrigue soon became known, and it was 
entirely unsuccessfial. So little was it relished by 
the Presbyterian party that they angrily denied it, 
This they could do quite honestly, because the pro- 
mise had been entrusted to Boyd's friends for the 
King's own eye ; when his Majesty promptly refused 
to agree to Boyd's restoration, the paper was, accord- 
ing to previous agreement, returned to him, and the 
1 Lukesmass = October 1 8. 


status quo became so far unchanged. It is possible, 
as Wodrow hints, that the two Archbishops (Law in 
Glasgow, and the Primate in St. Andrews) played a 
double game. But nothing unhappily appears to 
alter the fact that Boyd stooped to a bargain with the 
prelates, in which he was to be rewarded for his 
obedience to the Articles of Perth by the gift of a 
very valuable appointment. 

There is this extenuation, that one so strict as 
Zachary Boyd is found urging his learned cousin to 
send to the Archbishop of Glasgow a written promise 
to conform at pasch (Easter). Zachary's letter is 
dated April 15, 1625. He adds that Strang is to 
meet the bishops at St. Andrews in a week's time> 
This was putting the test somewhat brutally, and 
Boyd did not at any rate profane the sacrament by 
such an act. The next letter from Zachary announces 
Strang's appointment 

The King, James VI., died on May 27, 1625, and 
there was an interval of some length before the 
matter was finally settled. As late as August, 1625, 
Boyd is still hopeful that he may be appointed, and 
answering a rather curious appeal from Strang, he 
declares that he is " unrightfully withheld " from his 
chair by the Archbishop of Glasgow. He, however, 
knows that favour is being made for him with the 
new King. He advises Strang to persist in his 
refusal to accept the place, and even to urge his 
cousin, the Archbishop, to support his (Boyd's) 
interests. If, however, Strang should accept it, Boyd 
roundly declares it will never be with his approval 
or blessing, and he commits his cause to "the 
righteous Judge." It was with such an approach 


to a malediction that Strang was dismissed, to occupy 
for a quarter of a century a position which Boyd 
evidently looked on as his own. 

The promise of submission signed by Boyd left a 
stain on his reputation, which he sought to remove 
by a letter written to Robert Bruce or some other 
leader among the Presbyterian party, and intended 
as a sort of epistle general. It is docketed by Calder- 
wood as M.r. Robert Boyd his Apology for his sub- 
scription, 1625 or 1626. The document is brief and 
apparently put together in some agitation ; and it 
practically amounts to an acknowledgment of his 
want of decision. No doubt he declares that, had 
he been appointed anew to Glasgow, he would have 
supported the anti-Episcopal party more firmly than 
ever. He does not seem to perceive that this makes 
his case even darker. He was ready, once he had 
" gotten his foot in that place again," to thwart those 
who promoted him. This is something like double- 
dealing. He confesses that he deserves to be thought 
of " ill aneuch " ; he is indeed " a weak friend and a 
wavering reed." But never "a transfuga, a betrayer 
or deserter of my friends and their rychteous caus." 
The apology is, in fact, a remarkable analysis of his 
own psychology, perhaps even of the general Scots 
psychology of his day. It was the natural result of 
his education in the house of a bishop who was him- 
self in an ambiguous position, and among men of a 
type which sought to combine episcopal and presby- 
terian principles. They succeeded only in becoming 
blind to delicate points of honour, and in being mis- 
understood by their friends and their enemies alike. 


VII. Paisley (1626). 

The last stage in this uneasy and pitiful drama was 
reached when Boyd yielded to friendly importunities 
and permitted himself to be admitted by the presby- 
tery of Paisley into the charge of the Abbey Parish. 
It was apparently a family affair. Lord Ross and 
other leading gentlemen in the parish, in the absence 
of Lord Abercorn, the patron, gave Boyd a kind of 
" call " to the parish. The Archbishop of Glasgow, 
in spite of pressure from Lord Ross and others, 
declined to collate until he was satisfied that Boyd 
had been lawfully admitted. The step taken by the 
presbytery was irregular in form, and the appoint- 
ment lacked the necessary ratification by episcopal 
authority. Boyd preached after his admission, 
on January 8, 1626 ; and at a Kirk Session meet- 
ing after service, he made a severe attack on his 
friends, who had (he declared) threatened and re- 
proached him until he consented to the action of the 
presbytery. He announced that, having been thus 
" harled to this snare," he would not again occupy 
the pulpit until all doubts as to his position had been 
resolved. In the same address, he openly ascribes 
his troubles to the " ill-will " of the Archbishop. In 
a subsequent letter to Lord Abercorn, who was 
abroad, he accuses the Archbishop of threatening to 
keep him out of Paisley or any other kirk in his 
diocese, whatever Lord Abercorn, the presbytery, or 
the parishioners may do to the contrary. 

Meantime, Strang was duly settled in the place 
which had once been Boyd's ; and Wodrow goes so 
far as to suggest that this Paisley imbroglio was to 

PAISLEY (1626) 165 

some extent created by the Archbishop in order to 
achieve that result. At Paisley itself, the people 
were kind to Boyd, and he preached to them again 
for a Sunday or two. But no house was ready for 
him. When at length he obtained a house, it was 
" rabbled " (as Wodrow puts it) and his goods were 
thrown out into the street. It seems (from Wod- 
row's account, based on manuscript evidence) that he 
had been assigned as his manse " the forehouse of the 
Abbey," and had put his books and a bed into it. 
While he was conducting service in the Abbey, the 
Master of Paisley, Lady Abercorn's younger son, 
with some companions, broke into the house, and 
having thrown out the minister's books, locked the 
doors. Later, when Boyd was leaving, " the rascally 
women of the town not only upbraided Mr. Robert 
with opprobrious speeches, and shouted and hoyed 
him, but likewise cast stones and dirt at him." The 
Privy Council had these outrages before them, but 
nothing was done except to exact a pledge from the 
Abercorn family to offer no further hindrance to the 
minister. That the highly-placed offenders escaped 
punishment is said to have been due to Boyd's own 
intercession — a statement rendered probable by a 
former incident In his life.^ The matter had now 
developed into a faction fight between the Abercorns 
and the Boyds. It was a detail much emphasised by 
the local Protestants that the Dowager Countess of 
Abercorn had apostatised to the Church of Rome, 
and her example had been largely followed. Boyd's 
chief supporter, Lord Ross, urged him to persevere 
in his claims, and " not to be put from it by wives." 
' See supra, p. 14.2. 


Dickson, his former colleague and devoted admirer, 
attributes the opposition to the feet that " the Devel 
is so feared (alarmed) for his kingdom there, that he 
is mad against your entry." But the rabbling of his 
house and the demonstration of " wives " had driven 
the iron deep into Boyd's soul, and he remained quite 
inactive at Trochrigg. At last his chief. Lord Boyd, 
advised him to quit, and accordingly on September 
14, 1626, he sent a formal resignation to the Presby- 
tery. Further well-meant efforts of his friends to 
place him at Paisley were rendered null by his grow- 
ing ill-health. A definite disease had declared itself, 
which Baillie describes as lethale tuber, a m.alignant 
growth in the throat. He started for Edinburgh to 
seek medical aid, and on his way he wrote his last 
letter, addressed from Falkirk to his wife. This was 
dated December 9, and recounts the incidents of the 
journey so far. He had seen a Glasgow doctor, who 
made light of the symptoms. Taking his son with 
him, he had ridden forward through a violent storm. 
He meant to ride on next day (December 10), though 
it was Sunday, " as knowing that the Sabbath was 
made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." His 
last words are pathetic enough : " The Lord be with 
you and fortify and comfort you by His Holy Spirit, 
and send us a comfortable meeting in joy and health, 
for the sake of His well-beloved Son Jesus Christ, in 
whom I remain alwise, my Heart, your faithfial and 
affect, husband and brother, De Trochorege." The 
translation is Wodrow's, all Boyd's letters to his wife 
being written in French ; and his signature is that of 
a French seigneur, entitled to use " the particle." 
He died after much suffering at Edinburgh on 

PAISLEY (1626) 167 

January 5, 1627. According to Row, lie had time, 
before the end came, to condemn " the hierarchy which 
was come into our Kirk," and the ministers of Edin- 
burgh who had fostered it. His widow (who two 
years after married Dr. Sibbald) survived her former 
husband twenty-seven years. 

His death placed a sorrowful crown on a somewhat 
tragic life. He had lived anxiously, and died away 
from his home, among scenes embittered to him by his 
recent expulsion from Edinburgh through Episcopal 
intrigues. All his life he had sought retirement and 
peace ; but he had made sacrifices for that end which 
leave us sad. To his phenomenal learning there is 
strong and unanimous testimony ; of his seriousness 
and holiness (as his friends phrased it), there cannot 
be a doubt ; but of his consistency or steadfastness 
we cannot honestly speak. He was in that point 
emphatically a weak man ; and indeed he is found 
constantly acknowledging the fact. With his last 
breath he deplored his own weakness. In some lines 
preserved by John Livingstone, and written after his 
deplorable " submission " to Episcopal tyranny,^ he 
compares himself to a storm-driven ship which is fain 
to leave the direct route, and adds- — 

Sic ego temporibus multum jactatus iniquis, 
Quae rectum renuunt sub juga curvus eo ! 

In English. 
So by unlucky times tossed to and fro. 
In crooked furrows must I stooping go ! 

And he prays that Christ may aid him, by his life and 
conduct, to wash out what stain of undue subjection 

1 See p. 163. 


may have followed.^ The irony was, that all his 
concessions left him worse off than before. It is, 
however, noteworthy that profound veneration sur- 
rounded him during his life, and was even augmented 
after his untimely death. In such times, no doubt, 
men on all sides did not think, worse of their neigh- 
bours because they took part in the general game of 
intrigue. But they preferred the man whose intrigues 
succeeded. Boyd invariably failed, even when he 
stooped lowest and used every means. He had 
indeed no heart for those vmblushing struggles for 
office which were meat and drink to the Spottiswoods 
and the Laws. His was the piteous fate of a sensi- 
tive and austere scholar, forced out of his chamber 
into the vulgar medley of tuft-hunters and supple 
courtiers. He gave his time and attention to worldly 
matters with a grudge, yet he gave far too much. 
When he got his release, he had saved only so much 
from the wreck of his peace and leisure as to furnish 
forth the monumental commentary by which he is 
remembered among theologians. 

Works of Robert Boyd of Trochrigg 

I, Roberti Bodii a Trochoregia Scoti, SS. Theologiae in 
Academiis Salmuriana, Glascuana, et Edinburgena 
Professoris eximii, in Epistolam Pauli Apostoli ad 

Ephesios Praelectiones supra CC Opus Post- 

humum. . . . Londini : impensis Societatis Station- 
ariorum 1652. [Dedication by Boyd's son to the 
Reformed Pastors and Professors of France and Scot- 
land : Life by A. Rivet : Letter to the reader, by 
Robert Baillie. 1245 pp. folio]. 

1 Wodrow's Life of Boyd, p. 243. 

WORKS 169 

2. Robert! Bodii a Trochoregia Hecatombe Christiana. [In 

Johnston's Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum, i2mo. 2 vols. 
1637, vol. ii. 209-219. A hundred Latin verses in 
praise of Christ our Saviour.] 

3. Monita de filii sui primogeniti institutione, ex Authoris 

M.S. autographis per R(obertum) S(ibbaldum), M.D., 
edita, Edin"^, 8vo. 1701. [A short paper on the educa- 
tion of his eldest son, edited by Dr. Sibbald.] Reprinted 
in Wodrovi^ (Life of Boyd, App. xvii. Maitland Club). 
Wodrovv^ gives a list of unprinted MSS. (Life of Boyd, 
p. 256, 257.) These include the Philotheca, a fragment 
of autobiography in Latin verse. 

Bibliography for the Life of Boyd 

1. Wodrow's Lives IL Wodrow Society. 

2. Diet, of National Biog. sub voce. 

3. Munimenta Almae Univ. Glasguensis. 

4. Delitiae Poet. Scot, (for Boyd's poem Ad Christum 

Servatorem Hecatombe). (See also Wodrow, Life of 
Boyd, Appendix.) 

5. Scott's Fasti, sub Paisley. 

6. Records of University of Edinburgh. 

7. A. Rivet's Life of Boyd, prefixed to Boyd on Ephesians. 

8. M'Ure's Glasgow. 

9. Row's History. 

10. Wodrow's Lives of Blair and Livingstone. 

11. Baillie's Letters and Journals. 

12. Dr. Milroy (of Moneydie) — Lee Lecture, 1891. 

13. Dempster, Hist. Eccl. Gentis Scotorum, Bannat. Club, 


JOHN CAMERON (1579-1625) 

I. Preparation (i 579-1608) 

John Cameron started life nearly level with Robert 
Boyd of Trochrigg, whom he was destined to succeed 
at Saumur, Glasgow, and Montauban. They were 
not, however, classmates at college, because Boyd 
sought his theology in Edinburgh ; but they were 
very nearly colleagues at Saumur, as will be noted 
later. They were almost of an age, Boyd being 
born in 1578, and Cameron not later than 1580. 
The most probable date is 1579, since his friend 
Louis Cappel says that in 1 600 Cameron was " little 
beyond twenty years of age." Baillie records that he 
was " born in our Salt-mercat, a few doors from the 
place of my birth." ^ The family was of respect- 
able rank, of the burgesses of the city ; and a nephew 
of Cameron's became an episcopal minister. It is 
not unlikely that his parents had episcopal leanings. 
They came originally from Argyllshire, where Wod- 
row tells us that the Camerons were numerous. It 
need hardly be added that they claimed an ancient 

^ Baillie's Letters and Journals, III, 402. 

JOHN CAMERON 1579-1625 

PREPARATION (i 579-1608) 171 

lineage. In virtue of their place on the burgess roll, 
and of their large family and small means, their son 
John, the future professor, was appointed to a bursary 
in Glasgow College of the annual value of twenty- 
five merks. He thus became one of a number of 
servitors whose duties included ringing of the college 
tell, acting as famuli to the masters in carrying the 
books when these gentlemen went in templum, or 
carrying, on holidays, the arma campestria, bows, 
arrows, guns, etc. The date of his entrance to col- 
lege was 1595, in which year he appears in Muni- 
menta (iii. 62) as Johannes Calmeronous, while in 
the list of laureates (graduates) his name stands in 
1599, and stands first (Munimenta, iii. 8). This at 
the time meant that he was the most distinguished 
graduate of his year, and accordingly he was chosen 
one of the regents or masters in that year. His 
special subject, in which he had remarkably excelled, 
was Greek. To that language he often returned in 
after years. The rather puzzling title of one of his 
pamphlets, Steliteuticus, is only understood when we 
realise that it is the Greek a-TtjkiTevTiKos scil. Xoyoy, 
meaning an impeachment or invective. Among his 
fellow-students were the two brothers Rivet, after- 
wards notable divines in the French Reformed 
Church. So at least says Wodrow ; but only one, 
William Rivet (Gulielmus Rivetus Selta) stands in 
the Matriculation Album for 1595.^ And William 
was not a particular friend of Cameron, as his spiteful 
remarks on Cameron's pride and prodigality prove. 
Andrew, the elder brother, was much more favourable 

1 Munimenta, III. 6z. Selta is misspelling for Celta. 


to the Glasgow Grecian, though he embodies his 
brother's remarks in his own works.* William 
charges Cameron with having forgotten his humble 
origin and servile rank at College ; and, when he 
became a King's friend and engrossed in "Kingly- 
Theology," of pouring out money like water. " If," 
says the spitefial Gulielmus, "he was buying aught 
at a tavern or calling for his reckoning, he scorned to 
haggle or to say a word about the bill." But this 
was long after the days of his bell-ringing and book- 
carrying in the College were ended. 

Patrick Sharp, of belt-wielding fame, was Principal 
and Professor of Divinity while Cameron studied and 
regented in Glasgow. His tenure, however, was 
brief ; he taught only for a year. His oath will be 
found in Munimenta, in. 374. In it he undertook, 
on being coopted into the number of the magistri or 
masters of arts, that he would faithfully discharge his 
office : that he would not abandon his post until 
after the lapse of six years : that he would not leave 
the university without giving three months' notice ; 
but, should it happen to him to discharge this office 
for a longer space, that he would not even then go 
elsewhere until he had completed one year's course 
and given three months' notice. Such was the 
master's oath, with various slight changes in phrase- 
ology, up to the triumph of Episcopacy in 1660. 
When Burnet became professor of Divinity in 1669, 
he signed a formula which first promises to yield 
fealty to his most serene King (serenissimo Regi), 
and only secondly to discharge studiously and faith- 

^And. Riveti Opera, III. 893 : Wodrow, Life of Cameron, 
p. 84. 

PREPARATION (i 579-1608) 173 

fully his duties to the College. How to reconcile 
Cameron's oath of six years' service with his one year 
of actual tenure is a difficulty ; but the phrase nisi 
impetrata venia (unless after permission granted), 
added in the oath of 1602, seems to be the key to 
the position. In any case, the Glasgow students got 
only one session of the brilliant young Grecian, for 
in 1600 he entered on his years of wandering which 
the custom of the age and the restlessness of his 
temperament alike suggested. 

In 1600, being in his twenty-first year, he found 
his way to Bordeaux, and was speedily appointed a 
regent in the College des Belles Lettres at Bergerac, 
by the influence chiefly of Gilbert Primrose, one of 
the Reformed ministers at Bordeaux. This was a 
new school, and Cameron was set to teach Latin and 
Greek. He came with the powerful recommendation 
of the great Casaubon, who had admitted him to 
intimacy and affection. But his stay, here also, did 
not exceed a year. His reputation grew so fast that 
he was called " to fill the chair of the profession of 
philosophy " ^ at Sedan. Hither, as we have seen, 
Melville came to be professor of Divinity in 161 1, 
and here he died eleven years after. In Sedan, 
Cameron spent two years teaching the Arts subjects. 
This was long enough to carry his class onward to 
laureation, although the average period was three 
years and a half .^ It was then proposed to make him 
regent in his favourite subject, Greek. That office 

1 Wodrow's Life, p. 86. 

* Wodrow, Life, p. 86, says two years was the time required in 
the French Reformed Colleges. 


happened to be filled at the time by an intimate friend 
of his own, whom he would not supplant. In the 
end, both he and his friend left Sedan, going first to 
Paris and thereafter to Bordeaux. 

It was in 1604 that he made choice of the Holy- 
Ministry as his profession, and the determining 
factor, from the practical point of view, was his 
appointment as a travelling scholar in Divinity by 
the Bordeaux church under Primrose and Renaud,. 
collegiate ministers. To this modest provision,, 
carrying with it an undertaking to offer his services- 
as a minister at Bordeaux, there was now added the 
more lucrative post of tutor to the two sons of M. de 
Calignon, chancellor to Henry of Navarre. In his 
house, Cameron spent the first of his four years* 
course of study, and is said to have taught his pupils,, 
among other things, to write letters in Greek "very 
near equal to the ancients in purity and elegance." 
The next two years, 1605 and 1606, were spent in 
hard study at Geneva, whither he carried his pupils. 
For the last year, he repaired to Heidelberg, and 
there marked the culmination of his theological 
studies by publishing his De Triplici Dei cum 
Homine Foedere Theses (Opera Cameronis, fol. 
Geneva 1642, pp. 544-552). Such theses would 
ordinarily have secured a doctor's diploma ; their 
origin, however, was not academic but purely 
domestic. A number of students of theology at 
Heidelberg, with whom he had become intimate, 
begged him to compose those theses, which, we are 
told, were made known to many men of the highest 
authority and were found most accurate. So says the 
chief editor of the Works of Cameron, Louis Cappel, 

PREPARATION (1579-1608) 175 

whose collaborators were Bouchereau and the famous 

Wodrow's analysis of these theses, which remained 
the standard of Cameron's theological teaching during^ 
his subsequent career, is interesting and on the whole 
accurate. There are not merely two, but three cove- 
nants, between God and Man, the covenant of nature, 
the covenant of grace, and the Old Covenant. This 
last was the covenant made at Sinai, and represented 
Cameron's divergence from Calvinism, in the stress 
laid by him on the Covenant of Nature as in itself 
affording satisfaction to the divine righteousness. 
Calvinism postulates a nature entirely corrupt and 
enslaved ; Cameron even at this early date was 
secretly averse to that stern demand, and was dis- 
posed to extol the gifts of nature even as apart from 
grace. Yet his theses contain no hint of any con- 
sciousness that he was setting in motion a new train 
of ideas, which his disciples would more fully and 
freely elaborate. Wodrow sees in this idea of a 
Threefold Covenant the early traces of restless effort 
after novelty or originality. Two covenants satisfied 
the body of Reformed opinion ; but Cameron must 
needs supply a third, based on a special view of 
Nature in which lurked a suspicion of Arminianism. 
The state of Nature was assumed to be a state of 
faith. Man's redemption is but the restoration of 
that faith. The entire Old Testament economy is 
a demonstration that faith alone can save ; it holds 
only a foedus suhserviens — an object-lesson in 

1 See Opera Cameronis, 1642; note Lectori, p. 543; also 
Cappel's prefaces. 


So obscure, however, are these theses, that we may 
well believe the editor's statement that many most 
important and most learned men thought them in 
the highest degree accurate (quam accumtissimae, 
Opera Cam., p. 553). It is in the light of his later 
development of thought that we must interpret them. 
The conception of a Covenant of Nature contains at 
least the germ of his fixed idea, in the fulness of his 
powers, that the nature of man, so far as concerns his 
will, remained to a certain extent unimpaired. Thus 
man was still saveable by his contributory act of will, 
and such an act was open to all on condition of faith. 

The influences which moulded Cameron at Heidel- 
berg must have had a share in these theses. He had 
come to Heidelberg after spending two years under 
the shadow of Beza, and Dumoulin afterwards de- 
clared that he took occasion to contradict all divines, 
especially Beza ; he might indeed be called Bezae- 
mastix (Beza's scourge). In Heidelberg he breathed 
a Lutheran, instead of the Calvinistic air: his 
favourite professor was Schultetus, who was a sort 
of Broad Churchman in his way, advocating Christian 
Unity as something altogether superior to mere 
dogma. "The sanctity of mutual prayers and the 
sincerity of brotherly love found more favour in the 
sight of God, than all the contentions about the 
ubiquity and the carnal manducation of Christ's body." 
Thus, we are told, Schultetus harangued the dele- 
gates at a Confederacy meeting at Prague in 1620, 
preaching as Court Chaplain.^ Such jaunty treat- 
ment of the central difference between Rome and 

' Brandt, History of the Reformation, Eng. trans. 1723, 
IV. 199, 200. 

PREPARATION (1579-1608) 177 

Protestantism would attract a spirited mind like 
Cameron's. It lends probability to the story of 
Cameron's henchman, La Milletiere, that Cameron 
was concerned in plans of reunion between the Roman 
Church and the Reformed in France. But another 
influence toward Arminian ways may have flowed 
from his sojourn at Sedan as regent in 1602 and 
1603 5 fo^ Tilenus had been professor of Divinity 
there since 1599, and was rapidly passing from 
Calvinism to the Arminian side, Tilenus shewed 
something of the restlessness and ambiguity of 
Cameron's own nature. As we have seen, in describ- 
ing Melville's last days in Sedan, it remained doubtful 
to some what were the real opinions of Tilenus on 
the vexed question of Justification .^ What is certain 
enough is, that he shared the irritability and envious- 
ness of the typical theologian of his day. The fame 
of Gomarus at Sedan as a protagonist of Calvinism 
helped to drive him into the Arminian camp ; the 
fame of Andrew Melville produced a similar effect. 
Perhaps from him Cameron imbibed a little of the 
spirit of opposition and morose independence,^ as 
from Schultetus at Heidelberg he got his impulse 
toward a somewhat lax view of controversies. How- 
ever this may be, Cameron^ at a later period, shewed 
remarkable skill in combining opposites in doctrine, 
and in covering over his own haughty contempt for 
the received opinions of divines. Bezae-mastix tells 
a tale, while his ironically polite references to Beza 
as that most learned commentator are significant of a 

^ See Life of Andrew Melville in this vol. p. 77, sqq. 
^ Tilenus himself suggested that Cameron was anxious to score 
off him. 


temperament not yet unknown among doctors of 
theology. ^ 

Cameron at twenty-eight had undergone a varied 
preparation for the ministry, to which his promise as 
travelling scholar of the Bordeaux church bound him. 
There are hints, toward the end of his life, that he 
would have drawn back now had he not accepted the 
church's money. It was his misfortune through life 
that he must take other people's money, and so far 
conform to their conditions. It had been so since, as 
bursar, he bound himself to bell-ringing and book- 
carrying. The time had come to keep his promise. 
Leaving Heidelberg and its studious associations, he 
retraced his steps to Bordeaux, and became the col- 
league of Mr. Gilbert Primrose, filling the place left 
vacant by the death of M. Renaud. 

II. Bordeaux (1608-1618) 

Cameron became co-pastor at Bordeaux in 1608. 
Here he was ordained, after the usual " trials," 
including a sermon on Romans viii. 15 ("For ye 
have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, 
but ye have received the spirit of adoption, where- 
by we cry, Abba, Father"). Characteristically, he 
found himself unable to cover the ground in one 
discourse, and was obliged to deliver four ; these, 
according to the rules of the French Reformed 
Church, he had to ofFer in completion of his " trials." 
In a phrase familiar to seventeenth century preachers 
in Scotland, he made his text his "ordinar" for all 
the other sermons. There can be no doubt that he 
^ Wodrow, Life of Cameron, p. 213. 

BORDEAUX (1608-1618) 179 

was a lengthy and even tedious preacher, though his 
admiring and faithful friend, Louis Cappel, ascribes 
to him a fame for knowledge and eloquence which 
spread throughout the whole Church of France. 
Dumoulin, however, tells a different tale, which bears 
intrinsic marks of truth. According to him, Cameron 
was an unwearying sermocinator (sermoniser), who 
would have killed even BoUandus with boredom. The 
English divines could not stand his volubility and 
unrestrained tongue. He had oddities in the pulpit. 
His sermon lasted two hours, and was full of obscure 
and unintelligible digressions. While preaching, he 
unbuttoned his coat, spread his handkerchief about 
him like a napkin, and uncovered his head, placing 
his hat on the bookboard. In those days, as in later 
days in Scotland, the preacher spoke covered, and his 
hearers listened hat on head. We know also, from 
an anecdote about his famous pupil Amyraut, that 
Cameron used a particular motion of the head and 
tone of voice. For Amyraut imitated both peculiari- 
ties of his adored master. Could the " tone of 
voice " referred to be the Glasgow accent ? The 
whole figure summed up by these particulars is 
grotesque, and may well explain Cameron's failure 
as a preacher. It is added that he was quite uncon- 
scious of his unpopularity. Like Molifere, who read 
his plays to his housekeeper, Cameron sought the 
verdict of " an honest tradesman." " Since you force 
me," said the honest tradesman, "to tell you what 
are the discourses and the opinion of your flock, I 
must own that your sermons are not at all suited to 
the taste of the people ; they never hear you preach 
but they are prodigiously tired." Cameron next 


consulted a lawyer, who gave a similar answer. His 
colleague, Primrose, however, assured him that people 
of fashion and education heard his sermons with much 
pleasure and benefit.^ But this perfiinctory comfort 
is said to have had little lasting effect on Cameron, 
and to have been succeeded by a profound discourage- 
ment. To fail as a preacher is always bitter. His 
abandonment of the pastoral charge, later on, may 
partly have been decided on because he had learned 
that his gift lay in lecturing and disputation rather 
than in what is known as concio ad populum. More- 
over, the pulpit is no place for the undecided mind. 
And Cameron's was plainly such. 

It was in 1610 that Cameron communicated his 
thoughts to his friend L. C. (Louis Cappel) in four 
letters on Christ's Satisfaction and Death. These 
carry us straight into the controversy which already 
raged, and which was to continue for many years, as 
to the process and extent of salvation.* 

The correspondence was begun by Louis Cappel, 
then a proposant or probationer (Wodrow cor- 
rectly says a "preecher"). The young man had 
written "in anguish and vexation," begging advice 
on two points concerning the death of Christ. 
Was it necessary, as a satisfaction to God's righteous- 
ness.'' And, was the satisfaction made for all men.'' 
Clearly, Cappel had been touched by Arminian 
influences, because the replies of Cameron shew that 
his friend's difficulties sprang fi-om such Arminian 
propositions as these : " God loves not things because 

^See Wodrow's Life of Cameron, pp. 90-91 ; Bayle's Diet., 
suii voce. 

*For the letters to L. C, see Opera Cam., pp. 530-536. 

BORDEAUX ( 1 608-1 6 1 8) 181 

they are good, but everything is good because loved 
of God " : " God is free, and may make of his own 
what He will " : " The Person who can remove the 
impediment (sin) by a satisfaction, or not remove it, 
can also, while the impediment subsists, do the same 
without any satisfaction for sin ; the doing this is 
the same de materia as the removing the impedi- 
ment " : " Christ satisfied for all men ; God imputes 
this satisfaction only to some." Cameron's com- 
plaint of such propositions is that they reverse the 
proper order of divine mercy. Undoubtedly, there 
is an antecedent mercy of God toward all men, for 
God loves all. But this general amnesty is condi- 
tioned by a consequent or hypothetical mercy, which 
depends on the satisfaction for sin made by Christ. 
In other words, God is not free to pardon those who 
lack faith in Christ as their Substitute and Saviour ; 
thus, only those are saved who are " inned " in Christ 
and at the same time justified by faith. The death 
of Christ therefore was certainly necessary, before 
God's general love to man could become particular. 
But is Christ's satisfaction, from this point of view, 
made for all men.'' Cameron's expressions here are 
strong. "You err widely if you think you can 
pray for all in faith absolutely, since there is not one 
single promise in the Bible for the salvation of all ; 
and without a promise there can be no faith." "If 
you think that God wills equally the salvation of all 
without any condition, this is quite wrong, to say 
no worse." "The King of France so loved the 
Parisians that he pardoned the penitent." Yes ; but 
he did not pardon the rest, though he loved them all. 
Well, but why does God give faith in Christ, and 


consequent imputed righteousness, only to some, and 
not to all? Cameron answers in true Calvinistic 
phrase, it is God's good pleasure. In modern terms, 
it is just God's way. It is a sublime mystery. So 
far, there is no Arminian element. 

The correspondence proceeded, and Cameron writes 
his approval of Cappel's replies and of an essay which 
had evoked some censure. This censure he explains 
by the unhappy times, " in which it is reckoned 
unlawful to depart in the least from the opinions of 
such as are reckoned pillars." He advises Cappel to 
be prudent, lest he should bar his way to preferment 
— a rather significant advice. Cappel is troubled 
about Isaiah v. 4 — "What could have been done 
more to my vineyard that I have not done in it.?" 
Surely this implies man's free-will to receive or reject 
salvation .'' No, says the positive Cameron ; this is 
one of the chief texts against free-will. It just means 
that " God acts with men in men's methods," but in 
vain, unless He shed abroad light in our minds ; 
"which light is neither common to all, nor given to 
any of the wicked." He trembles to think of such 
an opinion as that of free-will, though "plausible 
enough to reason." God is irresistible, and the vine- 
yard must yield ; hence this vexatious passage " must 
be understood after the manner of men." Truly an 
oracular utterance! But it is at once followed by 
Cameron's favourite expedient of the antecedent and 
the consequent. He has lately, he remarks, " in 
reading the Scriptures, observed a new figure very 
frequently used, and I have aflixed a new name to it, 
the antecedent put for the consequent." Thus the 
phrase " delete our name out of the Book of Life " 

BORDEAUX ( 1 608-1 6 1 8) 183 

puts the antecedent (viz. " deletion ") in room of the 
consequent or result, namely, "damnation." And 
even so, he has found 600 places of Scripture where 
the consequent is put for the antecedent ; e.g. "when 
He says that His 'bowels sound for Moab,'" this 
really means that Moab is already destroyed, hence 
the painful sensation! 

Surely, this is exegesis run mad. Applied to the 
great text, St. John iii. 16, it would mean that the 
divine love followed on the sacrifice of Christ, instead 
of directly prompting it. It would also mean that 
"whosoever believeth" does by that act render 
Christ's sacrifice effectual. A more topsy-turvy 
" figure " of interpretation cannot be imagined. 

Thus ran the reply to the second letter. We can 
see in it no trace of Arminian theory, but rather the 
pitiable struggle of a keen mind involved in scholastic 

The third letter has better metal, and far more 
light in it. Salvation is universal as light is ; but 
"a person sleeping or shutting his eyes receives no 
light." " Christ died for all, yet His death makes 
happy only those who by faith embrace Him." He 
is " not ignorant of the idle sophisms about resistible 
and irresistible power of God." But he owns no 
resistible power in God. God can save whom He 
will, however strong-hearted. To deny that, is " new 
Divinity, as ill as Socinianism." But if grace is suffi- 
cient why should any be lost .'' Because grace is suffi- 
cient only in so far as it is efficacious. The sunlight 
is sufficient, but not for the blind. Grace is sufficient 
only for the believer. 

The fourth letter comes close to the real heart of 


Cameron. Cappel has very naturally suggested that 
the phrase "Christ died for all" is not a correct 
transcription of Cameron's statement that His death 
is efficacious only for the believer. Cappel offers a 
new reading of St. John iii. i6 — ^^ God so loved the 
believing." Cameron as properly replies that the 
Church has always hailed Jesus as Saviour of the 
World ; and " divines " (for so Cameron always 
spoke of the current orthodoxy) do not oppose such 
a term, "only they soften it by a little distinction 
because the expression sounds a little harsh (tantum 
distinctiuncula rem, quia nimis dura videbatur, emol- 
HuKt), and teach that, in respect of sufficiency, Christ 
died for all, butj in point of efficacy, only for 

Cappel shrewdly hints that Cameron's doctrine 
" Christ died for all " is akin to the Lutheran heresy 
of universalism, because it implied that Christ died 
for Judas as much as for Peter. Cameron, quick- 
witted as ever, retorts that he never made any such 
assertion. It is true that Christ died for the wicked, 
but not "as much as" for the pious, in respect that 
the wicked have rejected Him. What he really said 
was, that Christ died for all on condition that they 
were taken (exempti) out of the world and planted 
in Christ. The gospel-feast was made for all, and all 
were invited ; but many did not come. Yet the 
feast was spread for them, though in vain. 

In this final letter Cameron's temper gives way. 
His pupil, Cappel, has given him some shrewd 
thrusts, and he ends with a fiery warning against 
Socinianism and Pelagianism. Socinus is the special 
target of his contempt ; actually, Socinus taught 

BORDEAUX (i 608-1 6 1 8) 18 j 

his students that the world was not created out 
of nothing, just as did Vorstius, though he was not 
the first coiner of this execrable doctrine. But 
Socinus is sceleratissimus nebulonum omnium qui 
sunt. He and Vorstius are alike impudentissimi 
homines. With a salvo of abuse the letter ends 
abruptly and without the friendly Vale, adding only 
caetera coram, si dederit Dominus. 

This series of letters has been described at some 
length, because it shews a mind extremely acute, 
ready, and subtle, entangled in difficulties such as 
have always beset the question of Salvation. 
Cameron at this date (1610-12) was evidently striving 
to find a way out of the Calvinistic prison, as he felt 
it to be. He was pledged to the Reformed principles 
regarding the divine decree and election ; but his 
mind dwelt much on the truth of God's antecedent 
love for the creature, and he strove to account for the 
facts of Reprobation, in other words, the facts of sin 
beyond redemption, by a method which was bound 
to issue in difficulties. The lost sinner is to blame 
because he lacks justifying faith ; and yet, such faith 
comes only by the gift of God. The dilemma haunts 
his thoughts. He did not live to get out of it. 
Every way, horrid shapes of heresy met him. On 
one side, he saw the abhorred Pelagius, advocate of 
an equal chance for all as regards salvation. On 
another, the two Socini, uncle and nephew, Laelius 
and M. Faustus (as Cameron called the nephew) stood 
ready to welcome him as a fellow-labourer. And 
Arminius was very near his ear, whispering the com- 
fortable doctrine that every man may be saved if he 


■will. Wodrow philosophises mildly on Cameron's 
descensus Averni. Such views of the extent of the 
satisfaction made by the death of Christ were, to 
Wodrow, peculiar " to the New Methodists and those 
of the Middle Way." He traces them in the writ- 
ings of Cappel, Amyraut, Testard and Placaeus (La 
Place), all more or less pupils of Cameron. He 
observes that, for his part, he cannot quite understand 
how Christ's death was sufficient for all men, as the 
New Methodists and Arminians maintained. Suffi- 
ciency is a matter of covenant, and the New Covenant 
is only for believers. Yet, he sagely adds, the satis- 
faction made by Christ's death is a divine satisfaction 
and of infinite value. With such wholesome words, 
he dismisses the matter. 

To the year 1 6 1 1 belongs Cameron's first marriage. 
His wife, Suzanne Bernardin, was the daughter of a 
citizen of Tonneins in Lower Aquitaine ; she bore 
him four children, of whom one, the only son, died 
at two years of age. The other three were daughters, 
named respectively Joanna, Elizabeth, and Susannah. 

The theological ferment in the French Reformed 
Church was reflected in the National Synod of Privas 
in i6i2, which adopted after much debate a formula 
of subscription to the Confession of Faith, especially 
defining the subscriber's relation to Article i8, in the 
following terms : " That our Lord Jesus Christ was 
obedient to the moral and ceremonial law not only 
for our good, but also in our stead ; and that his 
whole obedience yielded by Him thereunto is imputed 
to us ; and that our justification consists not only in 
the forgiveness of sins, but also in the imputation of 
His active righteousness ; and subjecting myself to 

BORDEAUX (i 608-161 8) 187 

the Word of God, I believe that the Son of Man 
came to serve, and that He was not a servant because 
He came into the world. . . "^ 

This definition directly struck at the teaching of 
Piscator, of whom some account is necessary. His 
name, delatinised, was Johann Fischer (i 546-1 625). 
It is a coincidence that he died in the same year as 
Cameron. Wodrow thinks that Cameron had " fallen 
in " with Piscator's views on Justification. Piscator 
or Fischer was at twenty-five appointed a theological 
professor in Strasbourg, but his criticism of the 
Lutheran belief in the ubiquity of Christ's body 
brought about his dismissal on the score of Calvinism. 
But what was heretical in Germany was orthodox in 
France. Piscator sought less troubled waters in 
Herborn, where he passed the remainder of his life, 
lecturing to crowded audiences. It seems that he 
did not entirely agree with Calvinism either, because 
his teaching ran counter to the view that the satisfac- 
tion made by Christ included not only His death 
(passive obedience), but also His whole previous life 
as a perfect obedience to the Divine Law. His main 
argument was that, if our Lord's perfect fulfilment of 
the Moral and Ceremonial Law was adequate to 
justify, or make satisfaction for sinners, then no 
further satisfaction was needed. The death of Christ 
thus became unnecessary. The Confessional doc- 
trine made God unjust, exacting two punishments for 
one single sin (the Fall of Adam). For this teaching, 
Piscator was dealt with and condemned, but on appeal 
the National Synod of Rochelle, 1607, dealt with 
him more leniently ; while entirely rejecting his 
1 Quick, Synodicon, I. 348. 


theory, they expressed themselves satisfied with the 
"singular modesty" of his letters, "wherein there 
is not the least bitterness or provoking expression." 
And they commended him to God for his better 
instruction. Larousse adds, " Bel exemple, trop 
rarement suivi ! " ^ 

The question was not however set at rest by the 
Rochelle eirenikon. Sedan, the watchdog of ortho- 
doxy, was on the alert ; and Dumoulin, from that 
University, succeeded in raising a storm in which 
Cameron's reputation became involved. He was 
required to sign the formula of Privas, and declined. 
Instead, he took an appeal to the ensuing National 
Synod at Tonneins (1614), where he had found his 
wife. There, the whole matter was gone into with 
anxious care, and a deliverance was issued which in 
its very terms shewed the desire to meet Cameron's 
difficulties. The Synod, after a preamble stating that 
divers persons demanded an explanation of Article 1 8 
of the French Confession (1559), the article defining 
Justification, goes on to state afi-esh the doctrine which 
ought to be received and taught. Briefly put, it is 
this — that man, having no righteousness of his own, 
can be made righteous (justified) only by Jesus Christ. 
Jesus Christ from His birth gave perfect obedience to 
God both in life and in death. He kept the whole 
Law. By this perfect obedience we are justified, 
because by God's grace it is reckoned to be ours, and 
is apprehended (appropriated) by faith which God 
gives to us. By all this, we are assured of forgive- 
ness of all our sins, and become worthy of eternal life. 

1 Quick, Synodicon, I. 265 ; Larousse, Diet. Universel, sub voce 
Fischer (Jean). 

BORDEAUX (1608-1618) 189 

The judgment thus arrived at was imposed on the 
preachers and ministers, as well as the professors of 
Divinity, under penalty which might be as severe as 
deposition. It found Cameron undismayed, and un- 
willing to submit. Many members of the Assembly 
then shewed a desire to prosecute ; but it was agreed 
at first to appoint Andrew Rivet and Bouchereau, 
pastor at Saumur, to coefer with him. At the inter- 
view which followed, Cameron said he would rather 
die than change his opinion ; but he was persuaded 
to give an undertaking not to teach his special views 
on the subject of Justification (viz. by the Passive 
Obedience of Christ alone), "either by word or 
write." A. Rivet, who was clerk of the National 
Synod, along with M. Roy, persuaded the Court to 
accept this in view of the value of Cameron's services. 
We note the friendly part played by Andrew Rivet. 
As a contrast, Wodrow quotes a statement of William 
Rivet, that Cameron had acquired this " stiffness and 
opinionativeness " from the followers of Peter Ramus. 
Melville was one of the same school, and was actually 
suspected of an inclination to Piscator's views on 
Active and Passive Obedience of Christ.-^ Dumoulin 
was chiefly responsible for that piece of gossip, as he 
was for a good deal of the theological wrangling 
which went on at this time. Matters indeed reached 
such a point that the ever-oificious King of Great 
Britain, James I., interposed with a letter to the 
French Reformed National Synod at Tonneins, 
urging that all the controversial literature (books, 
papers, and manuscripts) should be committed to the 
fire. His Majesty singled out the bitter dispute 

1 See supra, p. 133. 


which had arisen between that stormy spirit Daniel 
Tilenus, and the heresy-hunting Dumoulin. The 
Synod, with much na'ivet^, recorded a lengthy judg- 
ment in reply, ordering that all the printed copies of 
Tilenus' recent attack on Dumoulin, along with 
Dumoulin's own books on the subject at issue, should 
be deposited with the Lord Duplessis Marly ^ at 
Saumur — ^whether to be burned or to be locked up 
the deliverance does not indicate. The obsequious 
Synod also begged His Majesty to suppress all copies 
which might have been imported into his realm. 

The Reformed Church of France was evidently a 
whirlpool of controversy. Tilenus and Dumoulin 
were the leading disputants : the questions at issue 
ranged from the "Personal Union" (Hypostatic 
Union) to the Active and Passive Obedience. 
Tilenus had charged Dumoulin with " Eutychianism, 
Nestorianism, Samosatenianism, and Ubiquitism." 
The Tonneins Assembly took Dumoulin's side, and 
accorded him a vigorous testimonial of soundness in 
the faith. Meantime, the enemy scoffed at the dissi- 
dence of dissent ; and the Protestant princes were 
sorely exercised. Amid the discharge of big guns 
from Sedan and Saumur, Cameron's utterances were 
gladly ignored. An attempt was made to get Tilenus 
and Dumoulin to shake hands. Urged by a special 
ambassador from King James of Britain, the Assembly 
even entered on a consideration of some basis for 
union among the Reformed Churches of Christen- 
dom, on the method of distinguishing fixndamental 
from merely ceremonial differences. The eighteenth 
chapter of the Acts of the Synod of Tonneins (1614) 

1 Otherwise Duplessis Mornay. 

BORDEAUX (i 608-1 6 1 8) 191 

affords very piquant reading in the present juncture, 
and exposes clearly the mind of its distinguished 
authors, probably men of fairly Broad Church views.^ 
Cameron was next embroiled with the Papalists, 
and entered on a disputation with M. Parent, dean 
of Rheims and doctor of the Sorbonne, concerning 
the certainty of Salvation. Cameron contended that 
Rome offers no true assurance to men that they are 
saved ; it gives them only a hope, and nothing more. 
The dean was Lenten preacher at Bordeaux, and could 
not escape from the pertinacious Cameron. Ulti- 
mately, the Cardinal Sourdise intervened, and drew 
from Cameron a trenchant reply entitled " Ab incom- 
petentis judicis Helvetium se mentientis sententia a 
Cardinale Surdisio confirmata . . . Joannis Cameronis 
Appellatio." (Opera Cam., pp. 840-848.) This ap- 
peared in 1 61 5, and was followed by two incidents 
which exasperated the Roman Catholic feeling against 

Incident of the Avocats (16 16) 

The popish party had published a very favourable 
declaration on behalf of the Reformed, renewing 
edicts formerly made for their protection. The 
Reformed, on the maxim Timeo Danaos, had received 
these favours with much suspicion, especially as they 
were accompanied by the disarming of the Protestant 
population at Bordeaux. As it was customary to 
supply armed soldiers as a protection for the Protes- 
tants while going to and from church, the unhappy 

^ For the foregoing account of the Synod of Tonneins, see 
Quick's Synodicon, I. 392-450. For chap. 18, on Union of Ref. 
Churches, see i&id. pp. 434-437. 


Protestants felt themselves literally to be sheep among 
wolves. Primrose and Cameron, their ministers, 
arranged that for a time at least public diets of wor- 
ship should cease. Men would then worship at 
home. The Consistory or Kirk Session was not, 
however, unanimous in this resolution to discontinue 
the public ordinances. Two avocats who were elders 
in the Consistory opposed this measure very keenly. 
When left in a minority, they appealed to the parle- 
ment of Bordeaux, the supreme judicatory of the 
province. It had on its rolls no less than i6o avocats 
and 75 procureurs.^ The two appellants charged the 
Consistory with exciting treasonable fears. 

The parlement of Bordeaux issued an order to the 
Consistory to resume the public services under pain 
of Lese Majeste. This order was naturally dis- 
obeyed, and the Consistory sent their two pastors 
away until the storm of civil strife should blow over. 
Cameron went to Tonneins, to his wife's friends 
there ; Primrose took refuge at Rouen.^ The pro- 
testant people continued their conventicles, and the 
parlement was too busy to execute its sentence. 
After peace was restored, the two pastors came back, 
and the public ordinances in church were resumed. 
But without delay the two Erastian lawyers were 
brought to book. One of them challenged the juris- 
diction of the Consistory and, on appealing anew to 
parlement, obtained from it an order to the Consis- 
tory to sist procedure in their trial of the offending 

1 Larousse, Diet Universe!, XII. 301. Larousse describes and 
enumerates these parlements. 
* See Cameron's Santangelus. 

BORDEAUX (i 608-1 6 1 8) 193 

This order the Consistory regarded as a breach of 
the Edict of Nantes granting liberty to the Church 
Courts of the Reformed. They proceeded in the 
case, and finally suspended the avocats from Church 
privileges. These gentlemen, nothing daunted, ap- 
pealed to the parlement, which then called for the 
Kirk Session records to be produced. Cameron 
appeared on this citation : the Civil Court reversed 
the judgment of suspension as an abuse of power, 
and forbade any further process against the accused. 
Cameron was subjected to a small fine ; but the chief 
complainer, St. Angel (Latine, Santangelus) was not 
awarded expenses. Still worse, after long pleadings, 
the avocats were punished with the lesser excommuni- 
cation, which was solemnly read by M. Hesperion at 
public worship. The matter then dropped. 

St. Angel or Santangelus remained obdurate. He 
declared that his life was in danger, and created by 
his complaints such indignation that Cameron 
launched against him an extraordinary pamphlet 
which he called Steliteuticus,^ meaning an Invective 
or Impeachment. It is a sort of certificate of infamy. 
The word is derived from stele, the Greek for a post 
or pillar, to which placards may be aflfixed. Sant- 
angelus was thus posted, placarded, or pilloried by 
his infuriated pastor. The title in fiall is, Sant- 
angelus, sive Steliteuticus in Eliam Santangelum 
causidicum, quo ejus in calumniando inscitia, audacia, 
et feritas traducitur. The pamphlet is described on 
the title-page as an answer to the report which Sant- 
angelus had published of his address in court. 

This pamphlet is pure Cameron. It is in its way 
1 See supra, p. 171. 


a gem of passionate abuse, and helps us to understand 
the temper and defects of its reverend author better 
than a dozen descriptions such as Louis Cappel's 

It is impossible to resist the temptation of going 
into some details. Cameron hinaself prefixes to the 
pamphlet (Opera, p. 849-864) a specimen of his 
Latin verse, in the mode known as a Scazon.^ It 
does him little credit, starting as it does with the 
virulent line 

Libelle, flammis ustulande Plutonis — 
Booklet, for Pluto's flames most fit — not book 
But poison, than the pest more pestilent, 
Foul portent of an impious age, abhorred 
Thrice and four times by the All-Highest and His flock ; 
Far hence betake thee, flee the light, and hide 
In Satan's gloom, thy father, where are heard 
Cries barbarous, where brazen fraud grows rank, 
Whereof thou art the fearful rubbish-heap, 
O booklet, kindling fit for Pluto's flames ! 

Nor is this all. Cameron's colleague, Gilbert Prim- 
rose, supplies an even stronger set of verses, in which 
he ends by declaring that the unhappy avocat should 
be called not Santangelus but Satanangelus ! 

In a short preface Cameron explains that St. Angel 
had long lain perdu (delituisset) in the Roman 
Church, and was little changed when at length he 
came over to the Reformed. He had always been 
troublesome, and had incurred frequent censure, 
sometimes in the Consistory, at other times publicly 
in sermon. But all had been vain. For a year 

1 The Scazon (from Gr. a-Ka^itv, to limp) is a regular senarius, 
with a spondee or trochee at the end. 

BORDEAUX (1608-1618) 195 

before the trouble he had absented himself from 
sermon and sacrament (synaxis =ljord^s Supper). 
Finally, he sought revenge by his complaint to the 
parlement, as before narrated. 

The pamphlet itself charges St. Angel with three 
unpleasant qualities, ignorance, falsehood, and bar- 
barity. The ignorance was shewn by his clumsy use 
of French at the tribunal. The falsehood was proved 
by the recital of a dozen mendacia ; that which stung 
Cameron most was the slander that he and others had 
fled from Bordeaux in sheer bodily fear. The bar- 
barity chiefly lay in St. Angel having dragged his 
co-religionists before a civil court. Finally, in a 
violent peroration, Cameron contrasts the unlucky 
avocat with the preachers of the Roman Church. 
They had never dared raise the charge of treason 
and rebellion against the Reformed ; yet this was 
just the charge which St. Angel had brought upon 
his own fellow-Christians. His object was plain, to 
magnify himself as the only loyal citizen among 
them, to secure his own fortunes at the cost of his 
friends. In short, he was a traitor in the camp, a 
Doeg, an Achitophel, and should be so addressed 
until he repented. Let him repent therefore, and 
bethink himself. He will have a terrible disillusion- 
ment. "That I may sum up most briefly what I 
have charged so copiously against you, that you are 
Ineptus, Audax, and Barbarus, trust rather the testi- 
mony of others than your own. Abhor yourself : 
burn ardently for Christ. Despise yourself : aspire 
unto Him. Bewail your sin and shame : implore His 
pity. Let His depth swallow up your degradation. 
Would that your disease had admitted of a gentler 


medicine! Then I would never have gone so far in 
my denunciation. But such a vile ulcer and obstinate 
cancer brook only knife and cautery! " 

Thus tempestuously ends Cameron's exhortation 
to repentance. By an odd and ironical chance, this 
laboured invective stands last in his collected Works 
(p. 864). It evokes mingled feelings. One only 
may be recorded ; it is the feeling of compassion for 
the unhappy lawyer, a septuagenarian, who had ex- 
changed the frying-pan for the fire, and found presby- 
terian censures even worse than those of Rome. It 
is certain, from the records of the French National 
Synods, that his was not a solitary case of imperfect 
conversion, either among laymen or among pastors. 
Such men suffered the penalty of the Laodicean. 
Neither party would digest them. 

While this tempest raged, Cameron had to go away 
for a time ; and from his retirement he wrote an 
epistle of condolence to his flock. Wodrow gives it 
at length ; for the present purpose it is enough to 
say that Cameron mingles with pastoral comfort a 
rather discouraging amount of scolding. He charges 
his people roundly with "looseness in manners, 
luxury in dress, feasting and dancing." His return 
was followed by a second and graver incident, which 
helped to make his position less tenable than before. 

Incident of the "Pirates" (1617) 

Two persons described as "captains," and belong- 
ing to the Reformed, were brought before the parle- 
ment of Bordeaux, charged with piracy. Their 
names were Blanquet and Gaillard. They appealed 
to the Chambre Mipartie, set up by the Edict of 

BORDEAUX (i 608-1 6 1 8) 197 

Nantes, 1598, for the hearing of causes in which 
protestants were concerned. The Chambre Mipartie 
at Bordeaux consisted of two presidents and 
twelve councillors, half of each religion ; hence the 
name, half-and-half. The parlement of Bordeaux 
refused leave to appeal to the Mipartie, on the ground 
that it had no jurisdiction over "pirates." This 
however was a plain evasion of the Edict of Nantes, 
sect. 34 — "All the said Chambers, composed as 
above, shall determine and judge ... in all matters 
as well civil as criminal." The accused, thus de- 
frauded of their right to be tried by the mixed 
tribunal, were sentenced by the parlement to be 
broken on the wheel. They were accordingly exe- 
cuted, wearing paper crowns with the legend 
" Captains of Pirates, Traitors, and Rebels to the 
King." The paper crowns pointed to a religious 
feud, the sufferers in the auto da fe being thus 
adorned. The two captains died so bravely and 
piously that Cameron (who had ministered to them) 
issued a pamphlet describing their behaviour in glow- 
ing terms. The parlement retorted by ordering 
Cameron's pamphlet to be burned by the common 
hangman, and by prohibiting its author from writing 
or publishing any other such tract. The title of this 
brochure was Constance, Foy et Resolution a la mort 
des Capitaines Blanquet et Gaillard. It is needless 
to add that it was not included in his Works. ^ 

1 For the above curious episode of the " Pirates," see Quick, 
Synodicon, Vol. I. pp. Ix to xcvi ; Benoit, Hist, de I'Edit de 
Nantes, II. 190-3 ; Bayle, Diction., I. 744. The First Synod 
of the French Ref. Church (Paris, 1559) gave judgment on the 
question whether pirates should be admitted to Holy Communion. 
Quick, I. 9. 


It is possibly due to this enforced leisure from 
public agitation that Cameron was able to publish in 
1 61 7 or 1 61 8 his best known work — Tractatus in 
quo Ecclesiae Romanac asseclarum adversus Reli- 
gione-m Reformatam praejudkia examinantur [Opera 
Cam. 555-595). This was his parting shot ere he 
left Bordeaux, where for some years he had been 
growing more and more obnoxious to the authorities. 
The importance of this book de Praejudiciis in the 
time of Cameron was considerable, and it has its 
value still. The author sets himself to deal with the 
popular impressions and misconceptions which tell in 
favour of Rome and against the Reformed Churches. 
He refers first and naturally to the outward pomp of 
the Roman Church, by which the populace are 
attracted, and then to the poverty of the Reformed, 
who have few endowments and scanty State aid. 
Thereafter, he proceeds to deal with the fundamental 
issues. The Roman Church relies on the Papal 
authority ; but the true rest and support of any 
Church must be in God. The Roman Church claims 
supremacy over princes ; but princes are, according 
to Scripture, the Church's nursing-fathers. Cameron's 
view of kingly authority emerges here. Pomp and 
ritual may attract some, but in truth those supersti- 
tious ceremonies hurt the Church, as does also her 
despotic government. The Church of Rome is Anti- 
christ, even if it be the largest and most comprehen- 
sive of all. Mere numbers, or outward union is not 
the only mark of a true Church. There is at anyrate 
no real unity within the Roman Church. And from 
the earliest times there have been divisions in the 
Church, yet even Cyprian does not exclude those who 

BORDEAUX (1608-1618) 199 

are separatists. On the contrary, he declares that 
such persons may be regarded as truly baptized Chris- 
tians, unless a valid apostolic tradition says otherwise. 
The antiquity of Rome is a popular argument, but 
antiquity must be conditioned by truth, which is the 
only thing really ancient. Nor is there any assurance 
that what once was a true church may not cease to be 
so, through degeneracy and error. But Rome boasts 
herself semper eadem. Such a claim is only too 
easily disproved, for no Church has more abounded 
in changes, though it may be impossible to give the 
exact dates or authors of such mutations in every 
case. And therefore it is absurd to ask the 
Reformers, Where on earth was your Church before 
the Reformation.'' The true Church is not always 
or everywhere visible, as the Scriptures themselves 
shew. It may lie hid, yet God in His time brings it 
to light. The true Apostolic Succession is not neces- 
sarily one of persons or of office, but rather of truth 
and character ; it depends on God's free election 
alone. To this vexed question of Succession 
Cameron devotes no less than six chapters (25-30), 
showing that the Pope has not apostolic succession, 
nor have the various Roman orders, nor have the 
ceremonies, nor above all have the doctrines; nor 
finally is there even an unbroken succession of per- 
sons. These chapters may fitly be studied for 
contemporary controversy. 

But what right had the Reformers to intervene.'' 
Cameron answers that the necessity of the case gave 
them a right and a duty to take up the work of 
reformation. An outward call or authority for such 
work is not always to be demanded ; yet the 


Reformers did not open a door to confusion, or 
encourage schism. Indeed there is a sense in which 
the Reformers recognise the Roman Church as a true 
Church, though so far corrupted that it became duty 
to withdraw from it. Of its corruption the most 
striking instance is Monachism, which Cameron pro- 
ceeds to indict of its many crimes. 

With this counterblast Cameron bade farewell to 
Bordeaux. His ten years had been troubled. He 
had become something like the enfant terrible of his 
own Church, and his removal to a theological chair 
was a tribute to his temper as well as to his formidable 
learning and talent:;. 

III. Saltviur (1618-1621) 

In 161 8, Cameron, uneasy at Bordeaux, listened 
willingly to the suggestion of his friends that he 
should be a candidate for the Divinity chair at Saumur 
in succession to Gomarus. There were two candi- 
dates, Cameron and Louis La Coste, pastor at Dijon. ^ 
The office was awarded after a contestation, the re- 
cord of which has been discovered, and is described 
in detail by Haag.^ The competition took place on 
August 8, 161 8. The examining board consisted of 
one commissioner from each colloquy (presbytery) 
within the Provincial Synod, and certain professors 
at Saumur— among whom Wodrow mentions Louis 
Cappel, rector ; Andrew Duncan, gymnasiarcha 

^It is stated that William Rivet was also put forward, 
' Haag, La France Protestante, Ilf. 650. 

SAUMUR (1618-1621) 201 

(principal) ; F. Burgersdyck, and William Geddes. 
Other examiners were Duplessis Mornay, Bouchereau, 
and Placaeus. Each candidate was required to give 
two " lessons " or lectures, and to defend his theses. 
Cameron is said to have done so during a whole day, 
irom 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The other parts of the exami- 
nation included the three sacred tongues (Hebrew, 
Greek, and Latin) ; philosophy in general ; and 

The chair was adjudged to Cameron. His rival. La 
Coste, had twice broken down, and had been quite 
unwell in consequence. But in spite of the formal 
award to Cameron, La Coste maintained that the post 
was his, founding on the deliverance of the National 
Synod (Vitre, chap. 12), which nominated him to the 
chair. His case does seem a hard one, inasmuch as 
the appointment by the National Synod of Vitr6 in 
1617 reads quite distinctly in his favour. But the 
commissioners at the Contestation having rejected 
him, it was held that he could not fulfil the conditions 
demanded. La Coste then sought pecuniary com- 
pensation, but this also was refused. Cameron's 
friends were too numerous. We note that there were 
two Scotsmen on the board of examiners, Duncan 
and Geddes. It is of course certain that Cameron was 
by far the better scholar and lecturer ; yet La Coste 
seems to be in some degree worthy of sympathy. 
He had counted on being chosen, and had demitted 
his charge at Dijon in consequence. 

Wodrow devotes some space to an account of 
Cameron's exercises at this notable competition. 
They were based on St. Matthew xvi. 18 ("Thou 

1 Wodrow, Life of Cameron, p. 124 sqq. 


art Peter"), and will be found at the beginning of 
his Works. His theses de Efficacia Gratiae are at 
page 330, and were published because of certain 
persons who were reviving " old and and buried semi- 
pelagianism " — a curious phrase from one of 
Cameron's leanings. He complains of being accused 
of teaching "that those persons have fallen away 
from Christ who attribute to man's will and the 
strength of free-will ( liberi arhitrii) even the smallest 
share in the matter of salvation (negotio salutis), who 
leave to the Spirit of God only the role of persuasion, 
and urge that God acts just the same on hypocrites as 
on His own elect." Cameron might well defend 
himself against such a charge, since his tendency was 
rather to treat the question of Moral Suasion and of 
Irresistible Grace with some degree of breadth. Such 
complaints confirm our impression that Cameron, all 
through, believed himself to be orthodox, though 
almost universal opinion soon after his death adopted 
the opposite view. Wodrow confesses that the theses 
are " on a subject pretty nice and quisquous." They 
did not please the " New Methodists " or Cameron- 
ites, who alleged that Cameron privately went much 
further than those theses go. Wodrow shrewdly 
says — " here he seems to me strongly to argue against 
the doctrine of general grace." His arguments were 
used later against Amyraut, Testard, and others. 
There are indeed some fairly significant phrases which 
" favour the Middle Way," such as the statement 
that the Spirit's work in conversion is "suasive," a 
rectification of the apprehensions and judgment, and 
not a " physical operation " on the human will. Yet, 
adds Wodrow, "he bases his teaching on Romans ix.> 

SAUMUR (1618-1621) 203 

which is as much opposite to pelagianism, semi- 
pelagianism, and any other thing that tends to them, 
as words almost can be." ^ 

Cameron's appointment excited the opposition of 
the provincial synod of Poictou on the ground of his 
supposed sympathy with Piscator. On appeal, the 
National Synod of Alais, 1620, pronounced in favour 
of Cameron, at the same time putting La Coste on 
the roll of pastors preparing for theological chairs, 
and making him a liberal allowance until he should 
be settled in a new pastorate.^ Thus at last Cameron 
reached what might seem to be firm ground. Yet 
his own friends in this disputed settlement were far 
from sure of him. An effort had been made at the 
outset to secure Boyd of Trochrigg as professor of 
Divinity at Saumur, along with Cameron as his col- 
league. There had generally been two professors in 
this department. But the attempt for various causes 
failed. Both Louis Cappel and M. Bouchereau were 
concerned in it. Wodrow is of opinion that 
Cameron's innovations in doctrine might have been 
prevented in some respects if Boyd had been there as 
a steadying force. ^ 

Cameron lost no time in starting his lectures, of 
which the larger part will be found in Works, 
pp. 1-207. Beginning with the passage St. Matt, 
xvi. r 8 (" Thou art Peter "), he dealt with numerous 
passages from that gospel on which important doc- 
trines were held to depend. The papal ascendancy 

1 Wodrow, Life, p. 140. 

2 Quick, Synodicon, II. 1 5, 29. 

* Supra, p. 145 ; Wodrow, p. 124. 


was rigorously controverted in the first-mentioned 
treatise. In another, on Phil. ii. i2, 13 ("Work out 
your salvation"), the meaning of salvation is dis- 
cussed, and the grace of God is held to be irresistible. 
Here emerges Cameron's characteristic theory of 
Moral Suasion, for he shews how the human will is 
turned or bent by the Spirit through most urgent 
persuasion {persuasione vehementissima). On psalm 
Ixviii. 19 (" He hath ascended up on high") he main- 
tains our Lord's divinity against Socinus, and adopts 
the view of a double Ascension, having double fruits 
or effects. On St. Matt. xvi. 17 he develops an 
attack on the papalists (pontificios), on the Ubiqui- 
tarians, on the Jews and Samosatenians, and on the 
Arminians. This praelection is a specially good 
example of his keenness and logical power. On St. 
Matt. xvii. 14-22 (the healing of the Lunatic), he 
discourses on miracle, its nature and authority, and 
concludes that faith which comes by miracles (fides 
historica) is not the highest kind of Faith. The 
highest faith is that which is united to charity (caritas). 
And charity itself is greater than faith. Such pro- 
positions are ample proof of the broad-mindedness of 
Cameron. On St. Matt, xviii. 2-5 (" Except ye be 
converted and become as little children"), he dis- 
cusses minutely the question. An dentur varii gloriae 
gradus in vita futura? Are there different degrees 
of glory in the future life .'' He proves the negative 
by fourteen arguments against sixteen for the affirma- 
tive. Other lectures deal with Scandal, Angels, and 
Church Authority, from familiar texts, all taken from 
the first gospel. This brief reference will make clear 
the method of the theological professors of his time. 

SAUMUR (1618-1621) 205 

They acted loyally on the belief that all doctrine is 
founded on and conditioned by Holy Scripture. 
They used Old and New Testament passages with 
equal confidence. They developed first the strict 
exegetical meaning, and thereafter detailed the loci 
communes, or recognised doctrinal propositions. In 
defending these, they distinctly shewed where they 
differed from the teaching of contemporary dogma- 
tists, as Socinus, Arminius, and Bellarmine (as repre- 
senting Roman theology). Their teaching varied in 
its main character according to temperament and cir- 
cumstances. Cameron's theology was paramountly 
polemic, as Turrettin's afterwards was expressly 
elenctica or evidential. Cameron's fondness for con- 
troversy appears in every line ; and the times in 
which he lived made controversy unavoidable. There 
was no part indeed of the theological training of 
students more carefully and incessantly attended to, 
than the controversial part. Disputation was the 
recognised method of reaching religious truth. The 
almost complete disappearance of this exercise in the 
Reformed Churches is probably to be deplored, in 
view of the fact that the Roman seminaries have 
preserved it in its fulness. Hence it is, that protes- 
tant writers and preachers find it so difficult to meet 
those of Rome in the field of controversy. Unless 
this defect of protestant theological education be 
remedied, it may be expected that the cause of the 
Papacy will continue to gain ground. 

There are other remains of Cameron's theological 
work, embodied in the ponderous folio of 1642, such 
as the very important tractate de Ecclesia, covering 
more than a hundred pages. In it are discussed with 


much exactness the name, the nature, the visibility, 
the duration, the infallibility, the jurisdiction, the 
discipline, of the Church. Finally, a chapter is 
devoted to the thorny question of Schism. This 
whole treatise is well worthy of being translated into 
English, since the really burning question to-day, as 
always, is. What and where is the Church.? 

There are some unfinished courses of lectures in 
the collected Works, notably on the Epistle to the 
Hebrews as far as chapter 8, and on the Word of 
God {de verbo Dei). The latter course, begun in 
Saumur and interrupted by civic broils, was used and 
continued in Glasgow, and there also had but a short 
run. The truth is that he never really settled down 
in any of his offices. Even at Bordeaux, where he 
spent ten years, there were serious interruptions. 
And now, at Saumur, he was hardly entered fully on 
his professorial duties when his mind was distracted 
by a challenge ^ from the redoubtable Tilenus to 
debate with him " the shares of the grace of God, 
and the powers of man's free-will, in our effectual 
calling." This was in April, 1620. The incident 
created as much excitement in theological circles as a 
modern prize-fight does among devotees of sport. 
The arrangements were made with much formality. 
The place of meeting was at the country-house of 
Jerome Groslot Sieur de I'Isle, a protestant gentleman 
carried when a child to Scotland after the Massacre of 
St. Bartholomew in 1572. His father had fallen in 
the Massacre, and the son was of such rank and birth 
as to be educated in Scotland under Buchanan along 

•' Tilenus denies this, asserting that the conference was engineered 
by Milleti^re. 

SAUMUR (1618-1621) 207 

with the young king, James VI. Groslot had been 
both at Oxford and at Cambridge, and was an excep- 
tionally well-read man.^ At this date he was over 
sixty years old. His country-seat near Orleans 
offered ample hospitality to the two combatants and 
their suites. The record of this celebrated discus- 
sion, taken down by Louis Cappel and Milletiere, 
was printed and published under the title Arnica 
Collatio de gratiae ex voluntatis humanae concursu 
in vocatione, et quibusdam annexis. It had a remark- 
able circulation throughout the learned world, and 
especially in Holland. Though styled " a friendly 
conference," it resembled rather a duel between two 
pundits, of whom Tilenus was certainly the older 
and the more pretentious. It was Goliath against 
David ; and Cameron, in his prefatory remarks to 
the official report, claims with hardly concealed pride 
the success of David over his bulky opponent. 
Cameron dedicates the report to Groslot, who, how- 
ever, had died since the discussion, if one must not 
even say because of it. It is at any rate recorded 
that the combatants met in Groslot's cubiculum, so 
that perhaps he was already ill. 

Cameron in his preface describes how the disputa- 
tion arose, how he had few auditors owing to the 
Communion Season, only Louis Cappel, Milletiere, 
and Merouville, how he left Saumur actually on 
Easter Day, April 16, and reached the appointed 
place on April 18. Tilenus however did not appear 
on the day fixed. He arrived five days late, just as 
the Saumur party were giving up hope and getting 
ready to go home. Tilenus does not seem to have 
^See M'Crie, Andrew Melville, ed. 1824 ; I. 254, note. 


made any excuse/ and the conference began on April 
24. The disputation turned on articles 21 and 22 of 
the French Reformed Confession of 1559 ; but it was 
soon restricted to the problem — " Of two equally 
wicked adults, why should one be savingly illumi- 
nated, and the other lost in the shadow of death ? " 
Cameron answered, in true Calvinistic style — 
Because God wills to have mercy on the one, and 
not on the other. Tilenus answered — Occultissimis 
hominum mentis, because God sees in the saved a 
certain merit, though most hidden from others. 

Both quoted Augustine and the Bible. The con- 
ference, which began on April 24, was abruptly 
ended on April 28 by Tilenus going off in some 
degree of displeasure. There ensued an acrimonious 
correspondence. Cameron claimed the victory, and 
he triumphs over Tilenus thus — "See how great is the 
Truth, when, even handled by so mean an exponent, it 
cannot be overthrown by one who is facile princeps 
among the other faction ! " 

The report of the Amica CoUatio might well have 
gained for Cameron a certificate of orthodoxy ; ^ but 
the Leyden Faculty of Theology, fresh from their 
victory at Dort, saw difficulties in Cameron's 
favourite distinction between the spirit (mind) and 
the will in effectual calling. To him the mind and 
will are entirely depraved as to the negot'ium salutis : 
here he is at one with Calvin, Bucer, and Peter 
Martyr, and claims complete accord with the Dort 
decrees. But this corrupt will is still a will, i.e. able 

^ Tilenus knows nothing of this ; see his Canones Dordrachenae, 
Paris, 1622. 

^ Tilenus declares that such was Cameron's object. 

SAUMUR (1618-1621) 209 

to act, though lamely. The Holy Spirit entering 
into the mind and into the will supplies properties 
and powers (habitus) which are in a formal relation 
to the corrupt properties. The contention is some- 
thing like that of Liddon in his paper on Nihilianism.^ 
The divine does not annihilate the human. At this 
point Cameron is clearly non-Roman, though he may 
be Arminian. In point of fact, he is a victim to 
compromise, and his followers were justly called the 
Middle Way. He seeks to preserve man's faculties 
even amid their ruin. His thought is, perhaps, this 
— God must save a man, not a cadaver or corpse, or 
a " lifeless statue " as Luther figured. 

In reality, Tilenus and Cameron were not far apart. 
If God chooses the saved man because of that man's 
hidden merits, then the saved man has never really 
been entirely depraved. God finds him saveable. 
He has in him semen insitum religionis — a phrase 
not unknown to Calvinistic teaching. As for the 
reprobate, he is already self-condemned. The very 
light that is in him is darkness. 

But the men of Dort and Leyden knew or sus- 
pected Cameron's secret inclinations. They offered 
him a crucial test. Would he prefix to the report of 
the Friendly Conference an " advertisement " stating 
that he was entirely in agreement with the Synod of 
Dort ; and would he also explain and alter anything 
in his arguments which seemed otherwise ? Cameron's 
Highland pride revolted, and he declined. The 
Report therefore appeared without the valuable im- 
primatur of the Leyden Faculty. 

* Liddon, Dissertations on subjects connected with the Incarna- 
tion, p. 229. 


Wodrow, who is excellent in his notes at this point, 
puts the issue as between Moral Suasion and the 
Renewing of the "Will (i.e. between supernatural con- 
version and rational conviction). Cameron's was a 
new method of salvation. He believed that God's 
Spirit does flow in on the man, but that is simply to 
enlighten the mind, which in turn moves the will. 
Salvation is wrought by the concursus (cooperation) 
of God's will with man's will, in a world of subordi- 
nate or secondary causes. Cameron is thus contending 
for a measure of free-will ; God's spirit acts immedi- 
ately on the mind, but mediately on the will.^ 

If there is a modern parallel to the issue between 
Cameron and Tilenus it may be the question as 
between Miracle and Scientific Law : between Sin 
and Heredity. But the new psychology leaves no 
room for a parallel at all, because it has demolished 
the distinction of faculties in human nature. Nor 
is it much concerned with questions of sin or corrup- 
tion. Yet its chief modern link with religion is the 
voluntarism of William James, to whom religion is 
essentially a choice, an act of Will, as it was to 
Cameron. Who can say whether Cameron was 
not, in some dim way, a pragmatist before the 
Pragmatists ? 

Three years at Saumur soon passed in such learned 
agitations ; and then came a change. Duplessis- 
Mornay was displaced and ceased to govern Saumur, 
and his friends were fain to bow before the political 
storm. Cameron, always unbending, went away to 
Paris, and thence to London. It was to him a real 

^See the whole passage in Wodrow, Life of Cameron, 
pp. 151-152. 

SAUMUR (1618-1621) 211 

exile, for, like Boyd of Trochrigg, he was more 
Frenchman than Briton (Scoto-Britannus he called 
himself). We find him in London in March, 1621, 
and there he remained for more than a year. It is 
not unlikely that he had been encouraged to come by 
the prospect of preferment. At any rate, he got, 
through the influence of Wren, bishop of Ely, per- 
mission to lecture to French refugee students 
"privately in his own chamber." His prelections 
were directed against Roman claims, and will be 
found in the collected Works, pp. 516-524. 

IV. Glasgow (1622-3) 

We come at last to Cameron's brief period of office 
as principal and professor of Divinity in Glasgow. 
His appointment was, according to William Rivet, 
due to the influence of the Bishop of Ely. Bayle 
attributes it to the English bishops as a body, who, 
he says, distrusted Boyd of Trochrigg, lately Prin- 
cipal. Cameron was fathered by the High Church 
school of bishops, of whom Wren of Ely was one. 
This was but a poor introduction to Scotland ; and 
Wodrow says that Cameron was badly received in 
Glasgow, and regarded as a stranger. Before how- 
ever he began his work there, he seems to have made 
a short stay in Edinburgh. There, in July, 1622, he 
probably wrote his Letter to the King, vindicating 
his loyalty in answer to the aspersions of his old 
opponent, Tilenus. At all events, this Letter is 
dated ex Scotia. Tilenus had published a volume on 
the Dort Canons, to which he had appended some 
severe observations on Cameron's alleged anti- 


monarchical views. ^ Cameron himself roundly attri- 
butes these charges to the anger of Tilenus at being 
beaten in the Arnica CoUatio. 

In this Letter to the King (James I.) we have 
Cameron's political confession of faith, for which he 
was to give his life three years after. Kings, he says, 
are subject only to God, and in no way to men's 
judgment. If kings are contemned, there can be no 
right worshipping of God, no true peace in the 
Church or in society. "From a child," he writes to 
His Majesty, " I looked on the kingly majesty not 
only with the highest honour, but with a kind of 
veneration ; kings being set as it were infinitely above 
the rest of mortals, and placed over them. But as 
my years grew, this became my fixed judgment." 
He emphatically denies the charge made by Tilenus 
that, while at Paris, he had preached against the royal 
authority after the outbreak of war. He denies also 
the charge of having fled from Paris for fear of being 
"mobbed." Oddly enough, Cameron was destined 
to be done to death in this very way ; but he declares 
in this letter that his flight was not dishonourable, for 
Cassillis helped him to get over to Britain. 

Wodrow proves by evidence of correspondence 
that Cameron wrote this letter on the suggestion and 
with the help of Law, archbishop of Glasgow.^ 

Duly appointed by the King, whose royal ears 
must have tingled with delight at such sentiments, 
Cameron went from Edinburgh to Glasgow in 
August, 1622. It is a significant token of his care- 

^Canones Synodi Dordracenae, Paris, 1622 ; see pp. 186-228. 
*For this Letter to the King, see Miscellany of the Abbotsford 
Club, I. 115. 

GLASGOW (1622-3) 213 

less habits, that he forgot to bring with him the 
King's Commission. The "Moderators" of the 
College, however, accepted in lieu of it a copy made 
from Boyd's commission, and supplied by Boyd him- 
self. This was surely to seethe the kid in its mother's 
milk ! He began his lectures on November i ; they 
were on the Word of God, and had already served at 
Saumur. They will be found in Works, pp. 466- 
471. They were abruptly closed with the words — 
" Here I must stop, being recalled to France ; the 
remainder I shall accomplish wherever and whenever 
the Lord giveth." The editor adds his own note 
that the remaining lectures were given publicly at 
Montauban in 1625. The lectvxres are of value, as 
dealing with the Necessity of Revelation, and with 
the " Notes " of Inspiration, both general and special. 
Cameron at the utmost taught only during one 
session, November to March. It is probable that he 
was a warming-pan for Strang, who succeeded him. 
At any rate, those appointments were often subject 
to one year of trial or probation. Boyd regularly 
made that stipulation. As we have seen, it was Col- 
lege law to finish a year, and then give three months' 
notice. But it is not difficult to see what causes 
moved Cameron to retire so quickly. He was socially 
a failure in Glasgow, just like his predecessor Boyd. 
Both had become Frenchmen, married French, wives, 
and adopted the somewhat stately manners of the 
French nobles. Moreover, Cameron was too obvi- 
ously the King's catspaw for the "ceremonies" 
(Articles of Perth, 161 8), which Boyd had been 
unable to swallow with grace. Cameron's Letter to 
the King revealed the utmost degree of monarchical 


prejudice. He was passive obedience embodied. 
Then, too, there had come a lull in the French storm, 
and he was absolutely sure of a chair either at Saumur 
or elsewhere. And in France he was a much greater 
man than in Glasgow, where his humble origin was 
well known. In Glasgow, also, his orthodoxy was 
suspect. Arminian views, which he was supposed to 
hold, meant for Scotland Episcopal pretensions and 

Add to all this the unhappy fact that he did not 
get on with his colleagues in the University. The 
decisive instance is well vouched for, and deserves to 
be recorded, especially as it throws light on academic 
ways three hundred years ago. 

Quarrel with Robert Blair (1622) 

Robert Blair, Trochrigg's friend, had remained as 
a regent in the College, and was distinctly not a 
persona grata to Archbishop Law. The latter was 
not sorry to do him an ill turn, and suggested to 
Cameron that he should exercise special supervision 
over Blair's dictates to the students. We have seen 
that this was not only a right, but a recognised duty, 
of the Principal. But it is hinted that Cameron had 
" set his inspectors " on Blair, employing students to 
watch him for questionable opinions. The same 
course was pursued in the case, long after, of Professor 
Simson, against whom students were called as wit- 
nesses.^ Blair's own story will be found in his auto- 
biography.^ He had just returned from visits paid 
to certain ministers interned by the King's command 

1 Calderwood's History, II. 567. 

* Blair's Life, Wod. Soc, 1848, pp. 41-44. 

GLASGOW (1622-3) 215 

— David Dickson at Turriff, Robert Bruce at Inver- 
ness. Both were intimate friends of the late Prin- 
cipal, Robert Boyd ; and Cameron was jealous. Yet 
Blair behaved with propriety, attending and taking 
down Cameron's lectures. There were some French 
students who had come to Glasgow with Cameron. 
In the Munimenta, iii. 76 we find such names as 
Joannes T0II6 Turonensis Gallus : Daniel ToUe 
Turonensis Gallus, fratres ; Joannes Massonius ex 
Andigavia Gallus : Renatus Venaldus Picto-Gallus : 
Elias Constans Gallus. With these Frenchmen 
Cameron kept very close intercourse, and he had 
appointed one of them to defend a thesis. Blair 
was appointed, as hebdomader, to " impugn the 
Thesis," and found Cameron and his French protege 
propounding the thesis of Election for foreseen faith 
— a proposition condemned by the Synod of Dort. 
When, in course of disputation, Blair referred to that 
condemnation, the praeses (Cameron) replied, "Tu 
polles argumentis ; omitte testimonium," meaning, 
"Rely on arguments, and not on authority." 
Cameron was nettled by the incident, and determined 
to arrange a " rebuff." He appointed the same 
thesis week by week, until the students in sheer 
weariness implored Blair to attend and again 
"impugn" it. This however was a "snare." 
Cameron employed a " theologue " (divinity student) 
to entice Blair to the haU of debate. There he 
resumed his argument, and Cameron lost his temper. 
Blair said — " I will not dispute contentiously." 
Whereupon Cameron put a dilemma, " Either we are 
contentious, or you ; answer! " A minister among 
the audience pulled Blair's gown, murmuring — " Sit 


still, and answer nothing ! " But the regent insisted, 
and answered, " I charged no one with contention, 
but I wished to avoid it." (Applause.) Cameron 
rejoined with "minacing and injurious words," till 
rebuked by the Rector, Robert Scot, minister of the 
Cathedral. The French student in charge of the 
thesis having spoken, the disputation was adjourned. 
The principal (Cameron) and the regents escorted the 
Rector to the College gate, where Cameron left them. 
Blair however approached the Rector and his party, 
and asked them to pronounce whether he (Blair) had 
deserved those " reproachfull and menacing speeches." 
All agreed that Blair's behaviour had been correct ; 
but one added that there was "something behind" 
Cameron's action. 

A senior regent, James Robertoun, reconciled Blair 
and his chief. But soon after, at a meeting of the 
"Moderators" (equal roughly to the modern Uni- 
versity Court), there arose a question of accuracy in 
scholarship. It was Christmastide, and in course of 
conversation one of the " Moderators " raised the 
question whether at any time in the Church the keep- 
ing of Christmas was questioned. Cameron promptly 
answered "Never," quoting Augustine's Epistle to 
Januarius as proof that Christmas was kept through 
the whole world. Blair happened to have read the 
Epistle lately, and ventured to say — " I trow Augus- 
tine makes no mention of the nativity-day in that 
epistle." Cameron ("of whom," says Blair, "it 
was said that he knew not what it was to forget"), 
took up the book, which was in the room, probably 
the Divinity Hall Library room ; but on turning to 
the place found no reference to the keeping of Christ- 

GLASGOW (1622-3) 217 

mas. Blair gives a malicious sketch of Cameron 
pretending to read on for the expected passage, and 
then suddenly throwing down the book with the 
pettish exclamation, " I wonder how Augustine did 
forget this! " The scene is life-like in Blair's page.'^ 
It must be added that there are in Augustine two 
epistles to Januarius, but both of them deal chiefly 
with Lenten observances ; in neither is there mention 
of the Nativity.^ The mistake of Cameron was not 
unnatural, since the two letters deal with observance 
of days ; only, Augustine inveighs against super- 
stitious and magical days, quoting St. Paul (Galat. 
iv. 11), and declaring emphatically — "We do not 
observe days and years and months and times! " 
So that, every way, Blair triumphs. He himself left 
Glasgow dviring the "superstitiously abused days," 
and Cameron availed himself of this absence to 
secure one of Blair's students as a spy. The youth's 
name was John Gardner ; he was afterwards arrested 
for book-stealing! At Cameron's instance, he 
searched Blair's dictates on philosophy, copied out 
incriminating passages on magistrates, law, and obedi- 
ence, and when none appeared, selected other passages 
capable of being wrested. The object was to convict 
Blair of anti-monarchical views. On this point, 
Cameron was specially bent, as will appear from what 

The Munimenta, ir. 300, 301, under date 6 Janu- 
ary, 1623, records a resolution of the Senate requiring 
in future an oath of supremacy and fidelity from 
every aspirant to University offices. And Cameron, 

^ Blair's Autobiography, Wod. See, p. 44. 

*See Migne, Patrologie, Augustine, vol. II. pp. 199 sqq. 


as gymnasiarcha, was requested to frame a form of 
prayer for daily use, morning and evening, alike in 
classes and in the general meetings, in which the 
supplication for His Majesty and the royal family 
should stand first. The form of prayer is recorded, 
and runs as follows, in English : — 

" Formula. 

" Regard and govern the orders of King and 
Church — to the King, whom we own inferior on 
earth to Thee alone, do thou grant long life ; under 
his rule and empire grant peace and tranquillity to 
Kingdom and Church, and to us all give an 
obedient and thankful spirit because it hath been 
our lot to be born in his happy reign. Thereafter, 
we commend to thee the King's eldest son and heir 
the prince, as also' the whole royal offspring and 
house, also and even more piously the King's coun- 
cillors, nobility, magistrates, bishops, and ministers 
of the Church, on whom we beseech thee to bestow 
liberally thy Holy Spirit and all those gifts pro- 
vided with which they may be able to discharge 
their appointed duty piously, purely, honestly, 
faithfully and fruitfully. To us also of both civic 
and ecclesiastical rank do thou graciously grant a 
spirit of reverence and deference, as we seriously 
bethink us that thou art the author of every rank, 
that if any order is contemned thou art thereby 
contemned, and that by such contempt of dignities 
nought either in kingdom or in kirk can be rightly 
done or administered." 

Truly a most monarchical prayer, in which the 

GLASGOW (1622-3) 219 

Church takes second place to the King and his house, 
and a place still lower in the enumeration of the 
ordineSy councillors, nobles, magistrates, bishops and 
ministers (clergy) ; the mere commoners standing 
lowest in deep observance and submission. Seldom 
has a more verbose and pretentious prayer been con- 
structed for Scotsmen to repeat. It may be doubted 
if it was much used in the classes, though it may have 
been read at the graduations. The date of this enact- 
ment seems toi fit in to the scene at Christmas. The 
searching of Blair's papers during the vacation yielded 
some ambiguous opinions which Cameron took to the 
Archbishop (Law) as Chancellor. Blair hastened to 
defend himself ; but, sick of the whole business, he 
at length demitted his place, regardless of Cameron's 
somewhat tardy protests and promises of friendship. 
It is plain that the policy of the King (James I.) 
and his advisers was being steadily applied tO' forward 
the Episcopal ascendancy in the University as in the 
Church. Boyd had been got rid of with that pur- 
pose, and Cameron was sent in his place as one likely 
to reduce the stubborn Presbyterian regents to obedi- 
ence. So far as high-flying monarchical principles 
went, Cameron was absolutely suited for such a task. 
In all other respects, in temper, birth, and doctrinal 
tendencies, he lay open to obvious and fatal criticism. 
His temper was undoubtedly quick and domineer- 
ing: his birth was humble and his early career one 
of poverty ; and his incurable fondness for novelties 
in doctrine had made him an object of suspicion 
throughout the ranks of the Reformed. The dispu- 
tation with Tilenus had failed to rehabilitate him as 
a theologian. Neither side in the controversy would 


own him. The Calvinists saw in his theses the 
influence of Piscator ; the Arminians resented his 
attack on their view of the process of Salvation. He 
succeeded also one who took very high rank as a 
defender of Reformed doctrine, and who had left a 
deep impression on the Scottish mind. In short, 
Cameron must have felt uneasy in Glasgow from the 
first. Accordingly, he left that city in May, 1623, 
and was back in France by the month of July. 

In the brief interval, during which we find him in 
London, he spent his time mostly in dancing atten- 
dance at Court. The authority of William Rivet 
is quoted by Bayle for the statement that Cameron 
"returned empty-handed from his friend the King, a 
Prince of lavish generosity to others." ^ It may be 
remembered that Boyd of Trochrigg was better 
treated by King James. But Boyd was supported by 
powerful and aristocratic friends ; Cameron had none, 
and was probably little of a courtier. While thus 
vainly trying to get financial assistance from the 
Crown, he had the ill-luck to encounter a theological 
expert among the King's " servants," by name 
Thomas Reid (Rhaedus, Regi Britt. a manu), to 
whom he was introduced by the King's Remem- 
brancer, Sir James Galloway. The incident is 
curiously suggestive of a certain pawkiness in the 
King's Remembrancer, and a lack of worldly wisdom 
in the quondam Principal. Mr. Thomas Reid was 
perhaps only King James arguing per alium. He 
wrote to Cameron on the question of Divine Provi- 
dence, a noted controversial point between Arminian 

1 Bayle, Diet., sub voce Cameron; he refers to A. Rivet's 
Opera, IIL 900. 

GLASGOW (1622-3) 221 

and Calvinist. Does the concursus Dei make God 
the author of sin? Reid's problem is thus un- 
folded: — Cameron asserts that God is mixed up in 
every human action ; now sin being action, why- 
should God be exempt from responsibility for sin, 
and man alone suffer for it? Is not God necessarily 
particeps criminis, and (since He is God) the true 
author of sin ? Again, if sin be ens rede, and if God 
is creator and preserver of all entia, then God created 
sin. Somewhat thus run Reid's artful syllogisms. 

Cameron answers : — Sin is certainly not a non- 
entity ; it is however an ens only in respect that, in 
every action, good must be distinguished from evil. 
The action is an ens in respect of the good ; the bad 
in it is but a privation of good, that is, a depravity. 
Cameron offers illustrations. In a man who has a 
lame leg, the will is responsible for motion, but not 
for a halting motion. A good musician playing on a 
guitar which is out of tune is not responsible for the 
discords. Sin, like every privation (e.g. blindness) 
is certainly from God in its matter, for it is the depri- 
vation of something good (e.g. sight) ; but in its 
form, it is man's own. Cameron does not expressly 
say that these are his own views ; in point of fact, 
they were not ; his usual phrase reappears, that 
" divines have always held " such views. The con- 
cursus Dei with "secondary causes" was the Calvin- 
istic view. God is not the author of sin, but He is 
the author of the powers and circumstances whereby 
man sins. 

Reid's reply shows that he detected Cameron's 
ambiguous meaning. He pounces on the illustra- 
tions with glee. It is surely, he urges, the good 


musician's duty to see that the instrument is in tune ; 
so God ought to keep man from sin and its discords. 
Moreover, the sound does not come from the musi- 
cian and his guitar well-tuned, but from the strings 
alone. The limp illustration is thus disposed of: — 
The limp is not from the man's will, but from the 
faulty muscles. The idea of sin as privation of good 
is destructive not of sin only but also of good itself. 
They serve only as negatives to each other. Virtue 
and vice become merely opposites and nothing more. 
Yet we know that both are true qualities of man, 
even though they be opposites. Thus evil, as much 
as good, is an ens both in matter and in form. 

Cameron feels himself in touch with a worthy foe- 
man, and responds by launching a general proposition 
which he is confident that Reid cannot deny, viz., 
that the immediate efficient cause of every entity is 
God. "Divines" have precisely defined the con- 
cursus or influx of God on every entity, " not indeed 
continued," as its efficient and immediate cause ; but 
" divines " also maintain a " beautiful " series of 
secondary causes to which effects owe their immediate 
and proper origin. "Divines" go " some farther" ; 
but here Cameron ingenuously owns that he does 
not fully understand them, and " cannot follow where 
he does not fully understand." A significant and 
damaging admission. He then defends his simile of 
the good musician. The faults of the instrument 
are not his ; they may be accounted for by his desire 
to show that the instrument is bad, or to show how 
sweet is real harmony, or to punish the contempt of 
music among his hearers! The musician, in fact, 
may permit the strings to jar, when he could have 

GLASGOW (1622-3) 223 

prevented it if he had chosen. God cannot be 
blamed for permitting men's souls to go wrong! 
The lame leg is also defended. Reid is convicted of 
admitting that the limp comes not from the man's 
will, but from the defective " moving power." 
Therefore, sin comes not from God's will, but from 
man's defects. As to the term privation when 
applied to sin, perhaps disconvenientia, " disagree- 
ableness" (= incongruity) would be better; thus 
even philanthropy is sin when not done for God. 
Vice and virtue are always contrary when their matter 
is contrary. Thus while philanthropy is not contrary 
to Christian love in its matter, theft is contrary to 
honesty in its matter, yet only in so far as concerns its 
ara^la or disconformity. 

We are not surprised to learn that Reid complained 
to Sir James Galloway about these answers of 
Cameron's. Cameron then wrote to Sir James in 
reference to two points of which his wily opponent 
made a difficulty. The first was, Cameron's ignor- 
ance of facts (ana-Topicrla) : the second his " incon- 
stancy " or shifting of ground. As regards the first, 
Cameron reiterates the proposition that "the divines" 
teach that all entities are from God, and that there 
is a cooperation or concursus with secondary causes. 
No one except Durandus teaches immediacy pure and 
simple. If indeed God is everywhere immediate in 
His action, what room is left for the concursus Dei .'' 
He quotes Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus, Fonseca, 
and Suarez on the point — a showy display of learn- 
ing, but rather inept from the protestant standpoint. 
As to the charge of shifting ground, he retorts on 
Reid by taxing him with ignoratio elenchi. Inciden- 


tally, and not without a touch of pious cunning, he 
defends the memory of " the most holy and learned 
Calvin of happy memory." 

Wodrow concludes from the foregoing that 
Cameron denied the " simultaneous efficacious con- 
course of God with the actions of second causes " ; 
that is, he held some form of human free-will, an 
Arminian tenet. In the reprint of the correspon- 
dence (Opera Cam. pp. 325-530) Cameron states 
categorically his views on the method and order of 
the divine decrees, in terms which were afterwards 
freely appealed to by his pupils and followers, Placaeus 
(de la Place), Amyraut, Testard, and the "New 
Methodists." This statement is really a discussion 
of the divine attributes, which he classifies as either 
absolute (affecting God alone), or relative and condi- 
tioned (as touching man also). The idea of con- 
ditioned or relative attributes is clearly Arminian, 
according to Wodrow's judgment. Thus mercy 
ceases to be a divine or perfect attribute when it is 
described as conditioned by faith and repentance in 
man. Wodrow's chief criticism is not without force ; 
he points out that Cameron forgets that God's actions 
in time are not necessarily identical with His eternal 
decree. The conception of a conditioned universal 
salvation also points to the idea of merit in the saved, 
of faith foreseen in the eternal decree. Now, merit 
is thoroughly Roman and Pelagian. "Not," adds 
the cautious Wodrow, "that I think Cameron had 
any views that way . . . but it's my business to give 
things as I find them." ^ 

* For the whole incident of the correspondence, see Wodrow, 
Life of Cameron, pp. 169-182. 

FRANCE (1623-5) 225 

V. France : The Last Phase (1623-5) 

Leaving London with a heavy heart and an empty 
purse, Cameron went to Paris. He attended the 
National Synod of Charenton, where Curcellaeus (de 
Courcelles) made his submission to the Canons of 
Dort. This happy result, it is said, was brought 
about by a friendly conference with Cameron, held 
in a "doctor of medicine's house" at Paris on 
August 2, 1623. The Synod met in September, and 
was one of peculiar interest to Cameron, because of 
the episode of de Courcelles, and because also of his 
own situation. As regards the former, we learn that 
the conference between Cameron and Curcellaeus 
turned on the question of the fate of infants born 
of parents outside the Visible Church, and dying in 
infancy. Cameron propounded the thesis. Original 
Sin deserves damnation ( = eternal punishment) ; and 
thus easily proved that such infants were lost. Cur- 
cellaeus shines throughout the debate, which was 
taken down by Testard, then a divinity student, after- 
wards pastor of Blois. Yet an auditor, Durand, 
pastor at Paris, declared that they were all of them 
*'like boyes and children when compared to men, in 
respect of Mons. Cameron." Curcellaeus, though 
temporarily recovered from his Remonstrant heresies, 
afterwards, as Wodrow puts it, " licked up his vomit," 
and went to Holland among the followers of 

As regards Cameron's personal position, he was 
obliged to appeal to the Synod in a manner rather 
^Ibid. pp. 183, 190. 


piteous ; he has a whole section to himself in the 
Synod's records. ^ He told the Synod that he had 
been " sought after, and earnestly urged to accept of 
very advantageous employments without (outside) 
the kingdom, yet he would not at all close with them, 
because of his great affection and obligation to the 
Churches of France . . . but he was now destitute 
of employment, and so without any convenient means 
for the maintaining of his family." He was promptly 
rewarded for his humble and flattering appeal by a 
grant of looo livres out of the Royal Bounty — 700 
livres for salary as professor at Saumur, and 300 for 
arrears of the past year. Thus, while the King's 
order forbade Cameron to hold office as pastor or 
professor, for state reasons, the Synod practically con- 
tinued him in his old chair at Saumur, to which, in 
fact, the provincial synod of Anjou had strongly 
recalled him. 

The fidelity of Saumur to its Scots professors is 
amply proved. When Boyd found himself uneasy 
at Glasgow, the Saumur authorities sought to bring 
him back there. When Cameron, equally uneasy, 
escaped from Glasgow, and returned among his 
French friends, Saumur eagerly welcomed him. 
Indeed, the action of the Synod of Charenton, 1623, 
suggests that Saumur had only lent Cameron to Glas- 
gow for a season. Apparently he had subsisted more 
or less, during his Scottish episode, on the bounty of 
Saumur. At any rate, the Synod ordered the College 
treasurer there to refund to the Royal Bounty the 
stipend furnished to Cameron from that source. Yet 
the King's prohibition of any public office for 
1 Quick, Synodicon, II. 1 1 7. 

FRANCE (1623-5) 227 

Cameron stood in the way, so that though he went 
to Saumur he was unable to do more than lecture 
privately to a mere handful of students. The tide 
had ebbed from Saumur, as formerly from Sedan. 
The Synod of Dort had deepened the prejudice 
against Cameron and his school. After lecturing for 
some months, he accepted an invitation to the College 
of Montauban in November, 1 624. While at Saumur 
during this melancholy year, he lost his wife and only 
son (the latter born in London in his exile from 
France). They fell victims to consumption — perhaps 
to privation. 

Wodrow suggests that Cameron spent much of 
this year (i 623-1 624) in conferences (discussions). 
It is possible that he may have earned some fees in 
this connection. In September, 1624, he had a new 
experience. There appeared an anonymous pamphlet 
called Epistola viri docti ad amicum, in quo expen- 
ditur sententia Johannis Cameronis de gratia et libero 
arhitrio. It affords a curious sidelight on the methods 
of seventeenth century criticism. Two copies of this 
Epistola were sent by an unknown correspondent to 
Durand, pastor at Paris, who forwarded one of them 
to Cameron. Thus indirectly reached him the most 
important discussion of his principles which had yet 
appeared. At first he suspected Tilenus as its author, 
but on examination decided against this because the 
pamphlet was written " with a good deal more temper 
and decency." Ultimately, it was known that the 
writer was Simon Episcopius, whom Curcellaeus 
joined on going over to the Remonstrants. Such is 
the testimony of Grotius on the subject. Episcopius 
charges Cameron with Pelagianism and Manichean- 


ism.^ Cameron's reply will be found in Works, 
PP- 715-791- It is the most thorough declaration of 
his views to be found in all his surviving works, and 
shows a marked advance in clearness and maturity of 
expression. To fill vacant space at the end, he re- 
printed some rather pathetic Latin verses, written 
ineunte adolescentia, in his first youth. They are 
entitled Animam Alloquitur. They were designed 
to present his view of the combined servitude and 
freedom of the human will. At least, he says so 
after something like thirty years ; but it may be 
doubted whether a lad of fifteen had so farseeing an 
aim. After many couplets reproaching his soul with 
yielding supinely to the inherent evil of its origin, 
he declares that light not darkness is the soul's true 
destiny. Unable though it be by reason of sin's 
blindness to penetrate the heaven whence it came, he 
beseeches the Holy Spirit to enter his mind (mens), 
and then shall his blindness yield to divine light, and 
his feet spurn the muddy way of sin. Then pleasure 
shall offer its honeyed but poisonous cup in vain. 
The earthly mind (mens) shall know itself heavenly. 
Though hampered by heavy fetters, the mind shall 
enjoy free action as if unchained, and shall wing its 
way beyond the skies! (Opera Cam. p. 790). 

It may be questioned whether these verses im- 
pressed the mind of Episcopius and his friends. It 
is certain that Cameron felt this critical pamphlet to 
be a compliment to his fame as an original thinker, 
and that it infused new vigour into his teaching. 
1 See Wodrow, Life, pp. 197-204. 

MONTAUBAN (1624-5) 229 

MONTAUBAN (l 624-5) 

In the beginning of the year 1625, he married 
again, after a year's mourning (his first wife having 
died March 11, 1624). His lectures at Montauban 
were on the Word of God [de Verba Dei), being a 
continuation of the course given at Glasgow. Here 
also, he wrote his tractate De Supremo in Religionis 
negotio Controversiarum Judice. The Latin transla- 
tion is in Works, pp. 593-604. This French 
brochure was translated into English by John Vernill, 
sub-librarian of the Bodleian Library, under the title 
" A Tract of the Sovereign Judge of Controversys 
in matters of Religion," Oxford, 1628. VerniU 
appears in the Bodleian catalogue as Verneoill, or 
Verneuil, or Vernulaeus, and has left a MS. " Nomen- 
clator," or directory to sermons on Old and New 
Testament texts, which must in its day have served 
the ends of indolent preachers. 

Cameron's Death (1625) 

It was only a few months after his second marriage 
that Cameron sustained the severe injuries which 
finally caused his death. Bayle's account of the cir- 
cumstances is the fullest. According to him 
Cameron, as a thoroughgoing Royalist, opposed 
keenly the party of the Due de Rohan at Montauban, 
where unluckily the Due de Rohan was in a majority. 
The actual facts were glossed over by Louis Cappel 
in his Icon, because of his regard for the city and the 
whole party, on whom it was a great stain that 


Cameron should have been so brutally handled with- 
out any punishment being inflicted on his assailant, 
whose name was perfectly well known. Bayle would, 
he says, have kept silence also, but that Dumoulin 
and William Rivet had already told all. The truth 
was that Cameron by his political opinions had made 
many enemies, among them one so brutal as to beat 
him so that he was left for dead. Thus injured, he 
retired to Moissac, a neighbouring village, and find- 
ing no benefit there, returned to Saumur, where he 
died of "languishing and grief." 

Vivid details are given by Dumoulin and William 
Rivet. According to the former, Cameron had gone 
out into the crowded street and tried to still the com- 
motion. He rebuked those rioters whom he met, 
and one such person (drunk, at least with fury) beat 
him with his fists and a baton which he carried, so 
badly as to make him senseless. Cameron had bared 
his breast to the blow, saying " Strike, wretch ! " 

W. Rivet says the words were "Strike, wretch, 
strike! " (Peri, miser, feri) and were spoken before 
the blows were struck. Provoked by the words, the 
assailant knocked him down and would have slain 
him, but for a woman who rushed up and flung 
herself on the prostrate victim, thus covering his 
body with her own and saving him from the strokes 
(ab ictibus). 

Haag tells the story thus : " Cameron was called to 
Montauban to fill a theological chair. There he 
found himself confronted by a party of zealots who 
saw no salvation for protestants save in taking up 
arms. In one of the tumults then frequent at Mon- 
lauban between the fanatics (les exaltes) and the 

CAMERON'S DEATH (1625) 231 

moderates, on 13 May, 1625, accompanied by the 
pastors P. Oilier, Pierre Charles and Timothee Delon, 
he hastened out to calm the excitement, and finding 
himself confronted by a man who threatened him 
with his sword (de son epee), he offered his breast 
crying, Strike, wretch! He was at once grappled, 
thrown down, trampled under foot, and barely rescued 
by a woman (a widow named Petit) who covered him 
with her body." 

After these distressing particulars, the dignified and 
reticent narrative of Cameron's life-long friend, Louis 
Cappel, seems inadequate. He says — "When he 
{Cameron) would not join the party then in the 
majority, he left the town, and shortly after, while 
removing his household thence, was seized with a 
fever and died of it a few days after." The minutes 
of the National Synod are even less explicit, simply 
noting that " Mr. Cameron was called afterward to 
be Professor of Divinity at Montauban, where he 
died in the year 1625, about 44 or 41; years of age." 
On the whole, the account given by Bayle, Dumoulin, 
and William Rivet, and used by Wodrow, may be 
relied on as authentic. What adds interest to the 
tragic episode is the probability that his assailant was 
armed with a weapon much more alarming than is 
suggested by Dumoulin's phrase pugnis et fustibus 
(fists and staves). Wodrow so understood it, for he 
speaks of a baton (baston), and the baton of the 
seventeenth century in France was something of a 
halberd. As we have seen, Haag's well-informed 
account describes it as a sword (epee). The jeu du 
baton was a fencing bout, like that of quarter-staves, 
in which each sought to break the other's staff. After 


all, the assailant may have been a halberdier, a 
guardian of the peace. It is not uncommon for those 
who play the part of peacemaker in a mob to suffer 
from the arm of authority. In a mob it is not always 
easy to discriminate.'^ 

Cameron had never liked mobs, and was no 
favourite with them. The story told by Haag sug- 
gests that he perished in a collision between zealots 
who upheld the protestant cause by arms, and the 
moderate protestants who counselled an unswerving 
obedience to the King. Bayle, in fact, sharpens his 
wit on this suggestion, observing — "Who would 
have thought that a Scotsman would have exposed 
himself to blows for the sake of passive obedience 
and non-resistance .'' " Scotsmen in France were in- 
deed notorious for their fighting qualities, intensified 
by a stubborn pride. Fier comme un Ecossais was 
a proverb. But it may be feared that Cameron on 
this occasion had not been quite passive. Dumoulin 
has probability when he describes him as planting 
himself in front of those who met him, striving to 
stem the current of rioters, and scolding them 
(increpans eos in quos incidebat). 

The date of Cameron's death was November 27, 

1625, and his age about 46. The following year, 

1626, the National Synod of Castres voted 700 livres 
for his three daughters, apparently ignoring his 
widow. The Synod also allowed a yearly portion, 

^ For all the above, see Bayle, Diet., sub voce Cameron ; 
Dumoulin, de Mosis Amyraldi libro Judicium ; And. Riveti 
Opera ; Haag, La France Protestante, sub voce Cameron ; L. 
Capelli Icon, in Opera Cam. For baton, see Victor Gay, 
Glossaire archaeologique. 

CAMERON'S DEATH (1625) 233 

till next National Synod, to be paid from Church 
funds. Montauban was in arrears of Cameron's 
salary, and was ordered by the Synod to pay it to the 
children. Pastor Oilier seems to have tried to get 
out of this just debt.^ The money thus voted was 
to be entrusted to the daughters' " guardian " ; per- 
haps this phrase refers to the widow, whose name was 
Jeanne, daughter of Jacques de Thomas, avocat, and 
widow of Jean Gautier, a doctor of medicine.^ 

Character of Cameron 

The description of Cameron's characteristics, 
physical as well as moral, varies with the source from 
which it is drawn. The well-known and racy descrip- 
tion from Louis Cappel's friendly and partial hand 
deserves to be quoted in fiall. It is as follows : — 

"He was in person neither tall nor short but of 
middle height, slender and meagre rather than stout, 
not strong or robust yet healthy. In his looks 
(vultu) open and beaming (renidente), with a frank 
countenance (facie), vivid and pleasant eyes, yellow 
hair, somewhat too careless in his walk, dress, and 
general appearance, because he was almost always 
buried in thought and meditation. He was of the 
sweetest manners, not morose or austere, or on the 
other hand remiss and happy-go-lucky {effusus), but 
shewing a grave yet gentle composure, sharp- 
tempered indeed and quickly provoked especially in 
his intercourse with intimate friends and close associ- 
ates {familiar es) ; but he was a man who readily laid 

1 See Quick, Synodicon, II. 210. ^ Haag, ut sup. 


aside his anger and of his own accord acknowledged 
his fault and error. A man notable for loyalty and 
probity, of absolute integrity, straightforward, totally 
void of pretence, dishonesty and cunning, entirely 
free from covetousness and boasting, nay even in 
money matters remarkably and (considering his cir- 
cumstances) excessively regardless, and immoderately 
easygoing in his expenditure, not to say extravagant. 
He was faithful to friends, and not unfair to foes. 
He had those who were jealous of his glory and good 
fortune, to whom nevertheless he was the last man to 
bear a grudge ; nay more, there was no' one to whom 
he did not wish well and, on opportunity afforded, 
was not ready to shew kindness. One who liberally 
shared with others his learning no less than his purse 
and table, he had no secrets for such as would learn 
from him, and even whatever he had which was 
original and rare he readily imparted to them. As 
for writing, he wrote hardly anything spontaneously ; 
but when either provoked and stung by rivals and 
adversaries or urged and as it were spurred on by 
friends, it was with difficulty he put his hand to paper 
even to a moderate degree, though nothing would 
have been easier to him than to compose something. 
Some few things were published during his life by 
himself, but most of his work was published by his 
friends without his aid or knowledge, or after his 
decease. Unless they had with great pains gathered 
from his own lips whatever could thus be obtained, 
and sought out the scattered and by him neglected 
fragments, all the monuments of his genius would 
have perished entirely, so indolent was he by nature 
in signing his manuscripts, as well as careless and 


untidy in keeping them. In his early manhcrad as 
well as (though less often) in later life, he wrote 
several things in verse, just as occasion offered, and 
one theme or another presented itself to him ; these 
he would repeat to friends, but almost never did he 
write them out ; or, had he by chance done so, he 
would give them to this friend or that immediately. 
He kept nothing of them by him in manuscript, 
relying on the excellence of his memory, which 
prompted him faithfully when he chose. Whence it 
happens that these have all perished, though he 
excelled in the highest degree in that gift, so that 
one might say he was so to speak fashioned by nature 
for a poet." ^ 

The affectionate writer of the Icon goes on to 
eulogise Cameron's poetry, comparing him to Virgil, 
Lucretius, and Tibullus, who were his models ; and 
he adds equal praise of his linguistic gifts and of his 
mastery of the purest and most exact philosophical 
style — not that of the scholastics (Scholasticae illius 
spinosae, aculeatae et sophisticae). Thereafter he 
speaks of his love of and intense devotion to Theo- 
logy, " the chief and mistress of all the sciences," and 
explains his comparatively slender output in theo- 
logical work by the fact that he was by temperament 
impatient of the toil of writing, being always busy 
in meditation or in talk and discourse with his friends. 
He next describes his manner and gifts in disputa- 
tions, emphasising his wonderful readiness and clear- 
ness, with just a slight censure on his dicendi vis 
inexhausta, as being perhaps too luxuriant. None 
of his numerous pupils, says the panegyrist finally, 
1 Opera Cam. (Cameron's Icon, by L. Cappel). 


were likely to produce anything equal to his work ; 
for all who loved the truth and had no malice, 
Cameron would live and be a benefactor. 

The portrait of Cameron in the possession of 
Glasgow University is undoubtedly authentic. It is 
mentioned among others in Munimenta, iii. 436, 
where it appears that a sum of sixty-six pounds Scots 
was disbursed for copying portraits of Luther, 
Buchanan, Boyd, Cameron, and Alexander Hender- 
son. Of these all but Boyd and Cameron have 
always been hung in the Divinity Hall at Glasgow ; 
and those two ought certainly to be restored to that 
place. A separate entry shows that twenty-eight 
pounds sixteen shillings Scots was paid for " pictures 
of Calvin and Mr. Dunlop." The first lot were paid 
for in December, 1693 ; Calvin and Mr. Dunlop in 
1702. The portrait of Calvin appears to be missing, 
a doubtful omen for Calvinism in our ancient 
Divinity Hall.^ The description in the Icon above 
quoted is remarkably true to the portrait (" beaming 
look, vivid eyes, middle height, meagre"), and must 
set at rest any uncertainty which may have arisen. 

On Cameron's characteristics some observations 
must be made, not altogether in harmony with the 
sonorous panegyric of Cappel. "In his disputa- 
tions he was most prompt, ready, meek, and solidly 
acute." But if his quarrel with Blair ^ is truly 
described, it shows some lack of readiness and very 
little sign of meekness. " Of a most sweet temper" 

1 Munimenta, III. 436 (quaestor's accounts). "A guinea per 
piece," says the entry in Dec. 1693. Calvin and Dunlop cost 
rather more. The copyist was " Mr. Scugall." 

* Supra, pp. 2 1 5 sqg. 


. . . but this is not borne out by his language con- 
cerning D. Tilenus in his letter to the King ; ^ or by 
his Steliteuticus or " Flyting " against the septua- 
genarian church-elder Santangelus.^ " His verses 
almost equal to Virgil, Lucretius, and TibuUus." It 
is impossible to come to a decision, since the verses 
have perished. Not all, however, as Cappel asserts ; 
for we have his Scazon on Santangelus, a really poor 
piece of work, and his poem at the end of the answer 
to Episcopius {Animam dloquitur) in Works, p. 791. 
This latter has one or two lines of some beauty, but 
is confessedly a juvenile production and not free from 
pomposity. TibuUus would not be flattered by it. 
"An almost inexhaustible flow of words" — rather 
(if Dumoulin be credited) an intolerable fluency, com- 
bined with angry impatience of any interruption. 

Dumoulin's picture is indeed vastly different from 
that of Louis Cappel, for Dumoulin (the formidable 
Molinaeus), protagonist of Calvinism at Sedan, had 
no great liking for Cameron or his friends. Yet 
there is corroboration for most of Dumoulin's state- 
ments, unflattering as they are. Naturally they are 
adopted with his whole heart by the sardonic Bayle, 
who has little good of his own to say about Cameron. 

According to Dumoulin, Cameron was a lengthy 
preacher, very little versed in the Fathers : somewhat 
unpeaceable : always meditating something new. He 
did not like to tread in beaten paths. He took occa- 
sion to contradict almost all divines, especially Beza. 
" He battled with Beza," says Dumoulin apud Bayle ; 
and adds that Cameron might be styled Bezae-Mastix. 
He shewed a certain doctrine of reserve in theology, 
iMiscell., Abbotsford Club, I. 115. *See p. 193. 


with vague Romish leanings. For example, he 
judged the ministerial character ( = stamp, i.e. ordina- 
tion) a bar to the truth ; fear of excommunication 
stopped his mouth. The person who divulged those 
awkward traits was his fidus Achates, Milletiere, who 
himself was very near Roman views, and was at 
length excommunicated and professed himself a 

Dumoulin's dislike of Milletiere is pronounced. 
He tells how this bosom-friend of Cameron published 
a book against him, defending merit, and justifica- 
tion by good works : how he spoke not unfavour- 
ably of transubstantiation, and very respectfully of 
Rome : how he considered that the Roman Church 
had kept all points of Christian doctrine pure, 
although in some things she had erred. All this 
Milletiere professed that he had learned from his 
master Cameron. " What I call Cameronism," wrote 
this author, " is that solid elucidation of many diffi- 
cult points which that eminent person hath left . . . 
I well know that he aimed at the same end which I 
set before me, and that he would have followed his 
views much further had he not been a minister. But 
from some experience of that zeal (=vindictiveness) 
which hath prosecute him since his death, he easily 
foresaw that, had he undertaken any thing this way, 
he would have fallen under deposition and been 
anathematized. Ah how often did he tell me in 
secret conversation, as one of his most intimate 
friends, that he could have used the talent God had 
given him much more usefully had he never been a 
minister ! " ^ Dumoulin adds, that a minister at 
1 See Wodrow, Life of Cam., pp. 2i$-zi6. 


London wrote — " Mr. Cameron was lately here ; he 
is a man profoundly melancholick, and very much 
fitted to maintain a heresy." 

This is a charming expression of the old prejudice 
that a heretic is necessarily either a wicked or a dis- 
tracted person, the eminent example being Arius. It 
lets in a glimpse, however, of the real Cameron, who 
had excellent cause for melancholy while in London, 
seeing he had besieged the King's Remembrancer in 
vain for money to account of services rendered to the 
Episcopal cause. Wodrow however sagely reflects 
that La Milletiere had such an ill character that his 
statements will not win respect or credence.^ For he 
had " turned papist, and when he was not entertained 
(treated) by them as he would, threatened again to 
turn protestant." 

A letter of Grotius in 1636 is quoted by Wodrow, 
shewing that La Milletiere claimed for his master, 
Cameron, that he had taught a gospel of God's love 
for all men, that the unsaved are victims of something 
inevitable, of fatality ; that Cameron was the only 
writer who " hath stopped Arminius' mouth " ; that 
Cameron had baffled Tilenus ; and that thereafter no 
one dared openly attack him, only Episcopius ven- 
tured an anonymous pamphlet. Grotius of course, 
as an Arminian, resented these statements, and char- 
acterises Cameron's own position as "an idle fig- 
ment." That position, according to Grotius, was 
" The will's being immovable but (except) as deter- 
mined by the intellect." This, he adds, makes 
God inevitably the cause of all sin, even of the 

1 Wodrow, p. 216. 


The interest of the Milletiere episode lies in the 
suggestion that Cameron had private leanings to a 
reunion with Rome. Such a design was not in the 
least unlikely or unusual at the time. The question 
of the Reformed Church was a source of constant 
unrest, politically as well as ecclesiastically. But the 
gulf was so wide and deep, that it stamped a man as 
either traitor or fool to attempt reunion. Accord- 
ingly, Cameron's friends angrily denounced as untrue 
La MiUetiere's revelations of Cameron's private views 
on this point. Wodrow speaks of his "ill char- 
acter " ; others hinted that he was rather crack- 
brained. Tallemant des Reaux calls him "un bon 
homme, mais vain, et qui a quelque chose de demonte 
dans la tete." ^ It is certain, however, that born in 
1596, he was under Cameron's close influence from 
his early manhood. According to Tilenus, it was 
he who engineered the discussion in 1620 between 
Cameron and Tilenus. He was Cameron's ame 
damnee, his Achates (to use Dumoulin's term). At 
his patron's death, he was hardly thirty years old, yet 
he found himself a sort of heir to Cameron's private 
opinions. The man himself bears a curious resem- 
blance in character to his master ; he shewed the same 
restlessness, the same fluency and profuseness of 
phrase, the same fondness for novelty, and, it must 
sorrowfully be added, the same vanity. His career 
was, like Cameron's, that of a wandering scholar and 
pundit. First an avocat, he abandoned the pleader's 
task for theological disputation, and became an elder 
of the Church and a member of the General Assembly. 

^ See Larousse, Diet. Univ., sub voce La Milletiere ; Bayle, 
Diet., sub voce Milletiere. 


He joined the militant party in the Reformed 
Church of France, whose efforts indirectly occasioned 
Cameron's death. He was arrested, tortured, and 
condemned to death. While in prison, says Bayle, 
"he laid the first design of Syncretism" (Church 
Union). His release was attributed to a compact 
entered into by him to promote the return of the 
Protestants to the bosom of the Church ; and he is 
said to have accepted a pension of a thousand crowns 
from the Government to enable him to prosecute his 
designs for Reunion. Larousse says the pension 
came from the Cardinal de Richelieu, and was a thou- 
sand ecus. This was in 1631, and thenceforth tiU 
his death in 1665, La Milletiere issued a succession of 
works designed to promote the reunion of the French 
Reformed Church to that of Rome. A list of the 
principal treatises will be found in Larousse. Among 
them was one entitled La Triomphe de la Verite pour 
la paix de I'Eglise pour convier le Roi de la Grande 
Bretagne d'embrasser la foi Catholique. This was 
dedicated to the exiled Charles IL, and received in 
1655 ^ ^^T severe rebuff from one of his Anglican 
bishops. It was apparently regarded as sheer impu- 
dence, for it proposed to Charles the certain restora- 
tion of his throne if he would become a Roman 

It may well be imagined that such a man would 
rouse, by his reminiscences of Cameron, a good deal 
of wrath. The fact that he had himself made his 
peace with Rome gave little extenuation. The signal 
for controversy after Cameron's sad death was given 
by his pupil, Paul Testard, pastor at Blois, who pub- 
lished in 1630 a book De Natura et Gratia^ embody- 



ing his master's views. Then in 1634-5 came Mil- 
letiere's thunderbolt, De Universi orbis Christiani 
pace et concordia. This was succeeded by a plea for 
concord inter catholicos et evangelkos. These 
labours were believed to be fostered by Richelieu, to 
whom indeed the volume in 1634-5 was dedicated. 
Next came a volume from Amyraut, another student 
of Cameron's, on Predestination, setting forth 
" Cameron's hypotheses," as Wodrow puts it. Amy- 
raut was professor at Saumur ; but this did not hinder 
Dumoulin from attacking Amyraut in a dialogue 
called " Thaumasion and Capito " (Amyraut and Tes- 
tard), which had a great run. Next to him came 
Andrew Rivet (married, as Wodrow says, "on" 
Dumoulin's sister), who published the weighty views 
of the Leyden, Franeker, and Groningen doctors of 
theology. His brother William, who never liked 
Cameron, joined the swelling chorus against him and 
his pupil, Testard. All this damaged Cameron's 
memory. A National Synod met at Charenton, and 
"made a peaceflil Act" (March, 1637). But the 
work was done, and Cameronism, or New Method- 
ism, or Amyraldism had taken their place as alterna- 
tive descriptions of a new phase of doctrine not to be 
identified with Calvinistic and Dordrechtian ortho- 

It is likely, in view of all the foregoing, that 
Cameron just died in time to save himself from con- 
demnation as a heretic. The fact, that his pupils 
came into collision with the dominant theology of the 
Reformed Church in France and Holland, suggests 
that their impulsive and really able teacher would 
^ See, on all the above, Blonde), Actes Authentiques, pp. 18-29. 


have made his own position impossible if he had lived 
to three-score and ten. Whether, as La Milletiere 
declares, he was moving forward in the direction of 
Rome, and would in the end have advocated a basis 
of reunion, is a very interesting inquiry. His pre- 
mature death leaves it unanswered, and unanswerable, 
because there is not a line in his published works 
which offers anything but the most uncompromising 
opposition to the papal teachings. On the other 
hand, he had certainly a devotion for monarchy and 
episcopacy. That had taken him to Glasgow as King 
James's catspaw. In France, it might well have led 
him, where La Milletiere, his protege, arrived, a few 
years after his master's death, to the levee of Cardinal 
de Richelieu, and a pension for pamphleteering in the 
interest of Rome. 

On the whole, Cameron's chequered story leaves 
us unsatisfied and depressed. We cannot help feel- 
ing that he shewed, with the readiest gifts of learning, 
a certain truculence and self-assertion which with a 
stronger frame might have made him a sort of 
academic bravo or bully. We are, also, shrinkingly 
conscious of intrigues and reservations, alternate pride 
and mean compliance. Perhaps it is better not to 
dig too much in the lives of these princes of learning, 
like Boyd and Cameron, who pass so grimly across 
the Reformation stage. In Cameron's case, it was a 
brief apparition, especially in Glasgow. And the 
keen hasty spirit of this old-world scholar soon burned 
itself out. He died of " languishing and grief." 
One might use of him the ancient tag — " Foede mun- 
dum intravi : anxius vixi : perturbatus egredior ! " 
For the first, the Saltmarket stands proof. For the 


second, our detailed record in the present pages is 
ample guarantee. The last truly gives us pain, as we 
think of Cameron's bruised, aching, if not wounded 
body, and still more shamed and wounded soul. 

Nevertheless, Cameron left a deep mark on his 
time, and a reputation more than local. In the same 
curious way of Scots scholars as the Admirable 
Crichton, he has insinuated himself into the fabulous 
record of prodigies. Even that cool critic, Bayle, 
admitted that it was fortunate that Cameron's works 
were preserved to some extent ; "for," he says, "we 
have very good things of him." The legend grew 
of his prodigious learning ; Louis Cappel dedares 
that he spoke Greek as men then spoke Latin. That 
delightful gossip Sir Thomas Urquhart, in his 
eKa-Kv8a\avpov, or The Discovery of a most exquisite 
Jewel, 1652, says in a well-known passage: "There 
was another Scotish man named Cameron who, 
within these few yeers, was so renowned for learning 
over all the provinces of France, that, besides his 
being esteemed, for the faculties of the minde, the 
ablest man of all that country, he was commonly 
designated because of his universal reading by the 
title of the Walking Liberary ; by which he being no 
less known than by his own name, he therefore took 
occasion to set forth an excellent book in Latine, and 
that in folio, intituled Bibliotheca movens, which 
afterwards was translated into the English lan- 
guage."^ Irving on this remarks that this book 
appears ," to have belonged exclusively to the knight 
of Cromarty's library."^ But two of Cameron's 

^Sir T. Urquhart's Works, Maitland Club, p. 257. 

^ Irving's Lives, p. 343. 


tractates were actually translated into English, notably 
that on the Supreme Judge of Controversies referred 
to on a previous page.-^ The most conclusive proof 
of Sir Thomas Urquhart's error, however, is the state- 
ment that a scholar like Cameron would accept 
Bibliotheca Movens as Latinity for "The Walking 
Library." Obviously it would be ambulans, if any- 
thing. Dempster's laconic record is as ever a curious 
mixture of truth and error ; " John Cameron," he 
says, " a man of the greatest eloquence, long professor 
in France of good literature (bonarum artium), of a 
distinguished reputation, a man undoubtedly destined 
for the highest rank had he preferred the Catholic 
Faith to heresy. He wrote a Collation of the 
Oriental Tongues in one volume, and translated 
several Hebrew 'writers into Latin in one volume. 
He lived at Saumur an honour to his fatherland ; 
now, I hear that he has at Paris professed the ortho- 
dox faith and is employed at Glasgow." ^ The refer- 
ence to his works is characteristically vague ; it maybe 
supposed that one volume refers to some lost treatise, 
and the other to Myrothecium, though that volume 
deals only with New Testament passages. There is 
however value in the second part of Dempster's note, 
added some time after he had penned the former part, 
in which he deplored Cameron's preference of heresy 
to orthodoxy. This addendum states that Cameron 
liad made profession of faith (as a Roman Catholic) 
at Paris, and was then working in Glasgow. La 
Milletiere's statements as to Cameron's reactionary 
leanings lend colour to the sxiggestion that Cameron 

iSee p. 229. 

2 Dempster, Hist. Eccl., Bannat. Club, I. 173. 


may have had some communings with learned men 
on the Roman side. But that he should go to Glas- 
gow after turning Roman Catholic, and be placed at 
the head of a Protestant College, implies a degree of 
Jesuitry which cannot be believed. Only the author 
of John Inglesant could make it probable. Demp- 
ster's hearsay report is perhaps founded on the fact 
that Cameron from an early point was credited with 
Arminian notions, and that it was not uncommon for 
Arminians to return to Rome. His intimate rela- 
tions with Wren, bishop of Ely, and with other 
extreme High Churchmen in London, would also fit 
in with such gossip. Finally, his "Syncretism," or 
Desire of Catholic Reunion, would readily grow to 
the legend that he had been received into the bosom 
of the Catholic Church, as Milletiere, his life-long 
attendant and scholar, actually was. 

Irving ^ records the high opinion of Cameron held 
by Bishop Hall — " the most learned writer that Scot- 
land has produced " ; and by Simon, who, in his 
Histoire Critique des principaux commentateurs du 
Nouveau Testament, declares him to have shown a 
correct critical judgment and an accurate knowledge 
of Greek and Hebrew. 

Milton in his Tetrachordon (on the four Scripture 
loci on " Marriage, or nullities in Marriage ") quotes 
Cameron on i Cor. vii. 10-16 as "an ingenious ■Hriter 
(ingenuous in copy referred to below) and in high 
esteem." The phrase is, "but to the rest speak I, 
not the Lord" ; and Beza remarks that "the Lord 
spake it not in person, as he did the former precept." 
Milton rejects this, and after some reasoning, adds : 

1 Irving's Lives, I. 343. 


" But what need I more when Cameron, an ingenious 
writer and in high esteem, solidly confutes the sur- 
mise of a command here, and among other words hath 
these, that 'when Paul speaks as an apostle he uses 
this form,' The Lord saith, not I, verse 10 ; but as a 
private man he saith, I speak, not the Lord.' " ^ It 
is a neat specimen of Cameron's ingenuity and of 
Milton's prepossessions in his campaign for Divorce. 
Another poet has left us the lasting memorial of 
Cameron's excellence as a writer of French verse, not 
(as Irving supposes) as the possessor of a pure accent. 
Says John Dunbar : 

Gallica Calliope vix te, Camerone, notaret. 

The Muse of France could scarce with pencil note 
One blunder, Cameron, in the lines you wrote ! 

Cameron, as we know, spoke French with a Scots 
(probably a Glasgow) accent.^ Dunbar uses license 
in Camerone ; the classic form was Camero. 

The fame of Cameron belongs rather to France 
than to Scotland, and Scottish theology took little 
note of his peculiar attitude on the question of the 
method and extent of Salvation. That he was an 
Arminian he himself denied, and even sought out 
Tilenus in order to clear himself of the charge. Nor 
would he submit to be called a follower of Piscator. 
It is to be suspected that he was bent on establishing a 
niche for himself in the temple of heresy, or (to use 
a milder term) theological originality. He succeeded 
posthumously, through the labours of his pupils, the 
Saumur school of Amyraut and Placaeus and others. 

1 Prose Works of John Milton ; Bohn, 1848, IV. 4.07. 
^ Irving's Lives, I. 346 ; see supra, p. 179. 


But it still remains doubtful whether Amyraldism 
accurately represents " Cameronism." Probably a 
light-hearted generation will judge it idle to inquire 
into that point. But there is room for inquiry, per- 
haps even for useful inquiry, at a time when the vexed 
problem of Free-Will has assumed new and 
threatening forms. 

Meantime, one parts from Cameron with some reluc- 
tance. His is by far the most romantic and suggestive 
story among those told in this volume. Only Mel- 
ville comes near him. But Melville died of gout 
at a great age: Cameron perished at forty-six, the 
victim of a baton stroke. In their lives and deaths 
we see the natural difference between Lowlander and 
Highlander. In their theological tendencies, too, 
they were at variance ; Melville remained with the 
Calvinists, Cameron was moving steadily towards the 
Arminians when death arrested him. In the Church 
of Scotland to-day, there are the same contrasts, partly 
of temperament, partly of training. What is lacking 
is that entente cordiale which justifies us in regarding 
Melville, Smeaton, Boyd and Cameron as almost 
Frenchmen in their culture.. But this may be 
remedied by recent events, which have opened a new 
chapter in Anglo-French relations. 

Works of John Cameron 
(From Haag, La France Protestante, 1881, III. 664.) 

1 . Discours apolog^tique pour ceux de la Religion r6form6e 
au jugement de Dieu. Bergerac, 1614. 

2. Santangelus, sive Steliteuticus in Eliam Santangelum 
causidicum. Ruppel. 16 1 6. 


_ 3. Constance, Foy et Resolution k la mort des Capitaines 
Blanquet et Gaillard. See page 197. 

4. Theses de gratia et libero arbitrio, 1618, at Saumur. 

These are pieces de concours at his " trials " for the 
Saumur Chair of Divinity. 

5. Traict6 auquel sont examinez les prejugez de ceux de 

I'Eglise Romaine contre la Religion Reformee. La 
Rochelle, i6i6. This is the de Praejudiciis Romanis in 
its Latin form ; it was also translated into English, 
Oxford, 1624, under the title "Examination of those 
plausible appearances which seem most to commend 
the Romish Church." 

6. Theses XLIL theologicae de necessitate satisfactionis 
Christi pro peccatis. Saumur, 1620. 

7. Amica Collatio de gratiae et voluntatis humanae con- 

cursu in vocatione et quibusdam annexis. Leyden, 1622. 

8. Sept Sermons sur Jean VI. Saumur, 1624 

9. Defensio sententiae de gratia et libero arbitrio. Saumur, 


10. Praelectiones theologicae in selectiora quaedam loca 

N.T., una cum Tractatu de ecclesia et nonnullis 
miscellaneis opusculis. Saumur, 1626-7. Edited by 
Louis Cappel. 

11. Above, No. 10, reprinted under the care of F. Spanheim 

under the title "J. Cameronis . . . ra a-oo^ofjieva" 
Geneva, 1642. This contains all Cameron's works of 
importance, several of them translated into Latin from 
the French, in which he wrote them for publication. 

12. Above, No. lo, reprinted under the title " Myrothecium 

evangelicum." Saumur, 1632. This is the work 
specially praised by Simon in his Critical History, 
and quoted by Milton in the Tetrachordon. 

13. Of the sovereign judge of controversies in matters of 

religion. Oxford, 1628. This is Verneuil's translation 
of the tractate written by Cameron in French, and 
appearing in Latin in the Geneva collection. No. 11, 
under the title De supremo in religionis negotio contro- 
versiarum judice. 


Bibliography for the Life of John Cameron 

1. Wodrow, Life of John Cameron. Maitland Club, 1848. 

2. Icon. Memoir by L. Capellus, prefixed to Opera. 

Geneva, 1642. 

3. Bayle's Dictionary. Eng. Trans., sub voce Cameron. 

4. Dumoulin (Pierre), otherwise Molinaeus, De Mosis 

Amyraldi libro Judicium. (Reminiscences and observa- 

5. Rivet (Andre), Opera. (Reminiscences, also remarks 

by G. Rivet.) 

6. Milletiere (Th^ophile Brachet de la), De universi orbis 

Christian! pace et concordia, 1634: Christianae con- 
cordiae inter catholicos et evangelicos . . . 1636. See 
Larousse, sub voce La Milletiere. 

7. Larousse, Dictionnaire universel, 1873. 

8. La Grande Encyclopedie. Paris. 

9. Dempster, Historia Ecclesiastica. Bannatyne Club, 


10. Irving's Lives of Scottish Writers. 2 vols. 1851. 

(Life of Cameron in Vol. L pp. 333-346.) 

11. Haag, La France Protestante, 2nd ed. Paris, 1881 

(sub voce Cameron). 

12. Urquhart (Sir Thomas, of Cromarty), Works. Mait- 

land Club, 1834. 

13. Milton (John), Tetrachordon. 

14. Dunbar (John), Epigrammata. 

15. Abbotsford Club, Miscellany, 1837. (Cameron's Letter 

to King James, L 115.) 

16. Munimenta Almae Universitatis Glasg. 4 vols. Mait- 

land Club, 1854. 

1 7. Cameronis . . . ra aoa^ofxeva. (Collected Works, fol. 

Geneva, 1642.) 

18. Quick, Synodicon in Gallia Reformata. 2 vols. fol. 
Lond., 1692. 

19. Blondel, Actes Authentiques. Amsterdam, 1655. 

20. Baillie (R.), Letters and Journals, ed. by David Laing. 



21. Brandt, History of the Reformation. English Trans., 


22. M'Crie (Thos.), Life of Andrew Melville. 

23. Benoit, Histoire de I'Edit de Nantes. 

24. History of the Edict of Nantes. Eng. Trans., Lond., 


25. Tilenus (Dan.), Canones Synodi Dordracenae. Paris, 

1622. (Appendix with Tilenus' account of his 
"Friendly Conference" with Cameron in 1620.) 

26. Calderwood, History of the Kirk of Scotland. Wodrow 


27. Blair (Robert), Autobiography, and Life by William 

Row. Wod. Soc, 1848. 

28. Coutts, History of the University of Glasgow, 1909. 

29. Simon (Richard), Histoire critique des principaux com- 

mentateurs du Nouveau Testament. Rotterdam, 1693. 
(Contains an extremely racy notice of Cameron as a 
New Test. Critic, pp. 780-782.) 

30. Revue Chr^tienne, 1907, vol. i. p. lOO sqq. (art. by 

Paul Mellon on Andrew Melville, see esp. pp. 107-109). 
Also 191 1, vol. i, p. 586 sqq. (art. by Paul Mellon on 
U Acadimie de Sedan — ses rkglements). 

3 1 . Bourchenin, Academies protestantes. 

32. Dictionary of National Biography, sub voce Cameron. 

33. Dr. Milroy of Moneydie — Lee Lecture, 1891. 

34. Chambers, Biog. Diet, of Eminent Scotsmen, sub voce 


35. Michel, Les Ecossais en France. 2 vols. London, 


JOHN STRANG (i 584-1 654) 

I. Preparation 

Fortunately for the biographer, Wodrow has a 
comparatively brief life^ of John Strang, principal 
and professor of Divinity from 162 6- 1650. He 
describes Strang as a scholar "known by his works 
through all the protestant as well as the popish coun- 
tries." Wodrow relies chiefly on Baillie's short 
notice of Strang's career prefixed to the De Interpre- 
tatione et Perfectione Scripturae ; but he has not 
neglected to record his own information and impres- 
sions. He acknowledges also a certain debt to 
Calderwood. With all this, he regrets that the 
materials are " short." 

John Strang was born in 1584 at Irvine, "chief 
town in the Bailliarie of Cunninghame in the shire 
of Ayr." ^ His father, William Strang, was trans- 
lated in the same year from Kirkliston to Irvine, 

' Collections for the Life of Mr. John Strang, D.D., minister of 
Errol and Principal of the College of Glasgow. Wodrow MSS. 
in Glasgow University, vol. II. There are two copies. 

2 Wodrow MSS. Glasg. vol. II. 


where he died on May 2, 1588, at forty-two. The 
shrewd compiler of the Fasti notes that he left an 
inventory and debts of ^804 12s. 8d. Scots; and 
ten merles for the poor. His account of his call to 
the ministry is as follows : " it pleasit Him to prepair 
me afoir the hand to the ministrie, quhairunto he had 
appointit me be his merciful! Providence. Lykeas 
he caUit me thairunto, being ane zoung man xxiii 
zeiris of aige or thairby." He states also that he 
was under impressions from twelve years of age — 
the age his son went to college. His wife, Agnes, 
was a sister of Alexander Borthwick, portioner of 
Nether Leneyher ; there were of this marriage two 
sons and two daughters. .One of the daughters, 
Barbara, married John Blackadder, whose son was 
afterwards confined in the Bass."^ 

After the death of William Strang, minister of 
Irvine, when his son John was but four years old, 
the widow married Robert Wilkie, minister of Kil- 
marnock. This was Wilkie's second marriage, of 
which one son, Thomas Wilkie, was the fruit. The 
young Strang was sent to school in Kilmarnock, 
where he proved a clever and well-behaved scholar. 
Zachary Boyd, afterwards vice-chancellor and a 
princely benefactor of Glasgow College, records that 
his schoolmate, John Strang, was distinguished for 
"modesty and piety." At twelve, his stepfather 
(" father-in-law " Wodrow calls it) sent him to " the 
Leonardine College of St. Andrews, to be under the 
instruction of Robert Wilkie, his kinsman," prin- 
cipal of St. Leonard's. There he was to study Greek 
and "philosophy" (i.e. the Arts subjects). His 
^ See Fasti, II. 152. Crichton's Memoirs of Blackadder, p. 15. 


regent was John Eccline, a name rather unusual, and 
coming nearest to Eggeling. 

At sixteen, John Strang graduated M.A., and was 
unanimously coopted by the principal and professors 
(or regents) as a regent. He was second to none in 
disputations and in philosophy, so says BaiDie. His 
education at St. Leonard's may have determined to 
some extent his bias toward a cautious and friendly 
policy in Church affairs. Had he gone to St. Mary's, 
it might have been different. It appears that he had 
always intended the ministry, and only awaited a 
proper age to accept preferment. We have no 
account of any special theological studies ; certainly 
he sought no foreign university, and his theology 
may be reckoned to be as Scottish as any of the 
period. Probably while regenting he attended the 
theological lectures of Principal Wilkie. Promotion 
came as soon as he had attained his twenty-ninth 
year, for at the end of 1613, when he had served as 
regent for about four complete courses,^ he was unani- 
mously chosen by the parish of Errol as minister. 
He carried from the Presbytery of St. Andrews a 
glowing certificate, signed by Alexander Henderson 
of Leuchars, John Carmichael, Robert Howie, John 
Dykes, and William Erskine. His character was 
evidently of the highest. 

II. Errol (1614-1625) 

In sending Strang to Errol, the presbytery had in 
view the peculiar circumstances of that parish. The 
leading family was that of the Earl of Errol, who 
iThe regent's course covered about 3 J years. 

ERROL (1614-1625) 255 

with Huntly, Angus, Home, and Herries, had for 
some years been the cause of anxiety to the Reformers 
on account of their Roman sympathies. Bellesheim 
says that the "leaders of the Kirk naturally directed 
a large share of their attention to the Catholic nobles, 
whose conversion to Protestantism they endeavoured 
to effect by every means in their power. Special 
preachers were appointed to each of the noble families 
of Huntly, Errol, Angus, Home, and Herries, and 
charged with the task of converting the whole house- 
hold."^ Under this pious tutelage, the Earl of 
Errol was slowly brought to the point of offering to 
subscribe the Confession, though not until he had 
been threatened with excommunication. This was 
in 1 610, and it is added that when required to sign, 
he " fell into such a trouble of mind as he was near 
to have killed himself." The morning after this 
attempted suicide, he was visited by the Archbishop 
of Glasgow, Spottiswood, to whom he confessed his 
dissimulation.^ He had evidently been advised to 
practise the Roman art of reservation, as expounded 
by Liguori and other eminent casuists. Excom- 
munication at this time inferred forfeiture and other 
severe penalties. It is not stated that he was ever 
excommunicated, or that he signed the Confession. 
The offer to subscribe was however tantamount in 
law to subscription. Accordingly, he was permitted 
to return home, and at the date (16 14) when Strang 
became minister of Errol, he "keeped a learned 
Jesuit" who, according to Baillie, had succeeded in 

1 Bellesheim, Hist, of the Catholic Church of Scotland, III. 

2 Spottiswood, History, III. 193, 208. 


seducing almost the entire household, including the 
Earl, to the Roman faith. The Jesuit was of the 
Earl's blood, by name Hay — a name illustrious at 
Paris in the person of Edmund Hay, head of the 
Jesuit College there, and friendly director of Smeaton 
in his search for light.^ Strang was deemed specially 
suitable as an antidote to the Jesuit Hay, and he is 
said by Wodrow to have "stopped the infection." 
But Baillie only ventures to record that he preserved 
the parish and the whole neighbourhood immune 
from any increase of papistry. In the Earl's own 
household he had less success. The Earl himself 
refused to apostatize. His son Francis who died 
young was however converted, along with the two 
daughters, married respectively to the Earl of Mar 
and the Earl of Buccleuch. The Countess of Mar 
in particular became eminent for her Protestant zeal. 
After all, the pressure of the "Kirk" was not so 
severe as is usually supposed ; for the Earl remained 
steadfast though he abated his controversial zeal, and 
Father Hay, for all we learn, remained an honoured 
inmate of the house. 

It is not superfluous to quote here Bellesheim's 
report of the Earl's decease in 1631, seventeen years 
after Strang began his efforts to convert him : " The 
Earl of Errol, after more than forty years of suffering 
for the faith," died in 1631. "This excellent noble- 
man was buried with great simplicity in the church 
of Slaines, having desired all that could be saved 
from his funeral expenses to be given to the poor. 
Spalding [Hist, of the Troubles in Scotland^ 1624- 
1645, ed. 1792, vol. I. p. 16) speaks in the highest 
^ See Life of Smeaton, pp. 84, 85. 

ERROL (1614-1625) 257 

terms of his piety and fortitude under long and heavy 
trials." Spalding adds that he " died within his own 
place of the Bowns ( = Bounds), now Slains," and 
that he was buried "within the church of Slains 
upone the nicht . . . with torche licht . . . ane trewlie 
noble man of ane great and couragious spirit." ^ 

From the Protestant standpoint, Strang was not 
successful with the Earl, and it may be conjectured 
that he did not press him too hard. It is likely 
indeed that the sufferings referred to by Bellesheim 
were not so heavy as that Roman Catholic historian 
suggests. They may have amovmted to little more 
than a few exhortations from the parish minister, 
and the knowledge that in the parish church itself 
Roman errors and rites foimd no quarter. 

Of Strang's pastoral ways and activities there is 
no record. What remains of the Errol ministry is 
rather the account of his public life, which indicates 
how highly he was esteemed, and with what difficulty 
he retained the obscurity of a rural manse. Two 
years after his settlement as minister he was called 
back to St. Andrews to receive the degree of D.D. 
Calderwood records the incident thus: — "Upon the 
29th of Julie [161 6], Mr. Robert Howie, Mr. Peter 
Bruce, Mr. James Martin, Principalis of the thrie 
colledges of St. Androes ; Mr. Patrick Melcome, 
Mr. Henrie Philip, Mr. John Strang, Mr. James 
Blair, and Mr. David Barclay, were inaugurate 
Doctors at St. Androes. This noveltie was brought 

1 See Baillie's Life of Strang, in the De Interpretatione ; Wodrow 
in MS. Life of same ; Bellesheim, IV. 29 ; Spalding, Memorials 
of the Troubles in Scotland and in England, a.d. 1624-A.D. 1645, 
2 vols. ; Spalding Club, L 1 6. 


in amongst us without advise or consent of the Kirk. 
Mr. Jhone Carmichael, Mr. David Mearnes, and Mr. 
Jhone Dykes, refused to accept that degree. Doctor 
Yoving was the director of the solemnities of this 
action."^ It is noteworthy that Henderson of 
Leuchars was not among those invited to receive the 
degree. The names of Howie, Carmichael and 
Dykes appear among the signatures attached to 
Strang's presbyterial certificate in 1614. Doctor 
Young was a Court favourite, afterwards Dean of 
Winchester. The "solemnities," like the degree 
itself, came from England. Wodrow observes that 
Aberdeen quickly followed the subservient course of 
St. Andrews in conferring the Anglican honour, but 
that Glasgow and Edinburgh were chary in doing 
so.^ Wodrow also points out that Strang's presence 
among the new dignitaries was due to his academic 
fame rather than to his suppleness as a courtier. It 
cannot however be denied that his new honour com- 
promised him for the rest of his life. The growing 
party in the Church, which opposed the "cere- 
monies" and would have none of such Anglican 
titles as Dr. Young dispensed, regarded him from 
that time forward with some suspicion. In the end, 
his career was fatally damaged, as we shall see. 

The distribution of honorary degrees was a pre- 
parative for the King's visit to St. Andrews in 16 17. 
That monarch was fond of making progresses through 
his kingdoms, and a Scottish progress was already 
long overdue. His interest in the Universities was 

iCalderwood, Hist, of the Kirk of Scotland, Wod. See. 
VII. 222. 

« Wodrow MSS. Glasg. II. 

ERROL (1614-1625) 259 

heartfelt and a little obtrusive ; and part of the royal 
entertainment at each was the recital of speeches and 
laudatory verses in Greek and Latin, accompanied by 
disputations in which learned men contended with 
each other for the royal approval. His Majesty 
never failed to sum up and characterise their efforts, 
sometimes in a homely and jocular style. It was a 
quaint substitute for the tournaments of a former 
time, in which contusions, broken bones, and blood- 
shed took the place of such battles of words. Though 
no bones were broken in these encounters, reputa- 
tions were freely lost or won. Among others, Strang 
rose to sudden eminence as a disputant in the King's 
presence at St. Andrews. We are told that he 
excelled the rest, as the motto of St. Andrews 
University requires. He shewed himself pious, 
modest, and full of the subtlest learning. In fact. 
King James specially complimented the St. Andrews 
disputants on their mastery of the works of Aristotle. 
From the Muses'' Welcome to the High and Mightie 
Prince James . . at his Majesty's happy Return, 
after XIIII. Tears Absence, in anno 16 17, we get full 
information of the proceedings, with copies of the 
addresses and poems. There is a preface by John 
Adamson, Greek verses tSi ^aa-iKel by the same, 
Latin verses by Alexander Hume, Drummond of 
Hawthornden, Henry Charters, Thomas Synserfius 
(Sydserf), Andreas Junius (Young), Robert Balcon- 
quall, of Tranent, David Wedderburn, Joannes 
Leochaeus, Alexander Adamides (Adamson), James 
Wedderburn, and Andreas Brussius, Philos. Prof. 
This last was Principal of St. Leonard's later, when 
James Sharp, of Magus Muir tragedy, taught there 


as a regent. The chosen theses in which Strang 
shone so brightly were Theses de Potestate Principis, 
a significant problem and much to the King's taste. 
It is true that Strang was appointed with others to 
impugn the propositions laid down. But we may 
well believe that he shewed a courtly subtlety in 
doing so. In the same volume, we find a Glasgow 
address by Robert Boyd of" Trochrigg, then principal 
and professor of Divinity in that city, with a poem 
by the same hand in Latin ; and another poem, in 
Greek, by David Dickson, then a Glasgow regent.^ 

Strang returned to Errol with fresh laurels added 
to his doctor's degree ; but his new court favour was 
almost at once shadowed at the notorious Perth 
Assembly of 1618. As is well-known, the chief 
difficulty at that Assembly arose over the Five 
Articles, concerning which a very searching vote was 
taken. It is recorded that Strang alone among the 
new D.D.'s had the courage to vote against those 
unpopular enactments. That however did not pre- 
vent his nomination in the same year as a member 
of the High Commission, under the presidency of 
the Archbishop of St. Andrews (Spottiswood, trans- 
lated from Glasgow). The main design, according 
to Wodrow, was to "cram down the Articles," 
though its official and public remit was to "bear 
down popery." Wodrow is surprised, as were many 
others, to find Strang's name on "that gravaminous 
Court " ; but he endeavours to explain the fact by 
the theory that the Government placed most of the 

iSee Tie Muses' Welcome, 1617, pp. 177, 212, 257 ; also, The 
Kings Progresses in locis. Neither work is in the Glasgow Univ. 
Library. I found them, however, in St. Andrews. 

ERROL {1614-1625) 261 

new D.D.'s on their list of commissioners, so as " to 
make the Dash the greater." Strang could hardly 
be overlooked in such a policy. But he attended 
no meetings of the Court of High Commission, nor 
would he have joined in what proved to be its chief 
business — "harassing of ministers for nonconformity 
to Perth Articles." ^ In short, here as in the matter 
of the D.D. degree, Strang revealed the weakness of 
his character ; he was only too ready to remain in- 
active, and to accept positions whose fiiU significance 
and duties he did not try to realise. Though absent 
from the meetings of High Commission, he must be 
held responsible while remaining a member ; and it 
is a serious responsibility, for many harsh sentences 
were pronounced by it, and some of his own friends 
were badly treated. Baillie characteristically makes 
no mention of the circumstances ; but Baillie was of 
the same breed. 

Strang's steady rise in reputation had its natural 
result in promotion. In 1620 the people of Edin- 
burgh being burgesses exercised their right of patron- 
age and placed on a leet the names of David Dickson, 
Andrew Cant, Robert Howie, Walter Balcanquall, 
John Strang and others. On November 5 the leet 
was reduced to two, Strang and Balcanquall. This 
choice is ascribed by Wodrow to the Edinburgh 
ministers and those who favoured the Perth Articles. 
Both of the nominees declined the invitation to join 
the Edinburgh ministry. Strang had to make a stout 
resistance ; but neither persuasion nor " threatened 
force" (i.e. a forcible translation such as was then 
common) moved him to leave his beloved people of 
1 Wodrow MSS. Glasgow, vol. I 


Errol, where he was much valued. He "had no 
heart to enter in among the flames and contentions 
he knew were at that time at Edinburgh upon the 
Ceremonies." The same promotion was offered to 
James Sharp at a later date. It was reckoned the 
highest Church preferment next to a bishopric. 

But something more congenial to his cautious and 
vacillating nature came six years after, when the King 
ap|X)inted him Principal and Professor of Divinity in 
Glasgow, in room of "Mr. John Camero." 

III. Glasgow University (1626- 1650) 

John Cameron had shaken the dust of Glasgow off 
his feet in May, 1623, and it was after an interval 
of two academic years that the King issued his pre- 
sentation in favour of John Strang, D.D., minister of 
Errol. He had spent thirteen years in that rural 
parish, and was about forty-two years of age. In 
early life, he had enjoyed about eleven years of 
.academic work at St. Andrews, and was therefore no 
tyro in University matters. The Munimenta (in. 
367) records his admission on February 21, 1626, at 
a public gathering of the University, including the 
students. There he was unanimously admitted by 
those who had the right to examine, choose, and admit 
the Gymnasiarcha (Principal) ; he received the right 
hand of fellowship, and took oath to discharge his 
duties zealously and faithfully, and to preserve to the 
utmost the rights and privileges of the University. 
No oath of allegiance was exacted. Strang is de- 
scribed as Sacrosanctae Theologiae Doctor, Academiae 
Glasguensis Praefectus. Wodrow says that he had a 

GLASGOW UNIVERSIfTY (1626- 1650) 263 

unanimous call from all the Masters of the College ; 
nevertheless, he accepted "very unwillingly," and 
only yielded on a second letter from Court, and many 
solicitations from the town of Glasgow. 

But the facts were slightly different, as a reference 
to the Life of Robert Boyd reveals.^ There had been 
a protracted intrigue to recall Boyd to his old place as 
Principal. Dr. Sibbald (who married Boyd's widow), 
had made strenuous interest with very exalted per- 
sons, including the Duke of Buckingham, the Duke 
of Lennox, Sir William Alexander, Sir George 
Elphinston, and Dr. Young, dean of Winchester. 
The Scots bishops and the noble family of Boyd were 
also involved. The Archbishop of Glasgow and 
others persuaded Boyd to promise conformity to the 
Perth Articles. Zachary Boyd urged his cousin to 
receive the communion, kneeling, at Easter, 1625 ; 
and added that Strang was to meet the Scots bishops 
in St. Andrews in a week. Strang was a cousin of 
the Glasgow Archbishop, James Law, ^ and was con- 
ducting an active canvass, in which he ventured to 
include Boyd himself. There is no evidence that the 
latter did communicate in the form then prescribed ; 
for which his memory must benefit. But at the 
critical moment. King James VL died. The place 
had already been offered to Strang, who delayed his 
decision, and sought the support of Boyd. This was 
in August, 1625, and Boyd's reply, though described 
by Wodrow as "a very kind return" (answer), 

^See Life of Boyd, pp. 162, 163. 

^ James Law was "son to Mr. Law, portioner of Lathrisk in 
Fife, and Agnes Strang of the house of Balcaskie." Keith's 
Catalogue, p. 264. 


declares that he (Boyd) is being " unrightfully with- 
held" from his chair by the Archbishop of Glasgow, 
Strang's cousin. But favour is being made for him 
with the new King, Charles I. He advises Strang to 
persist in his refusal to go to Glasgow, and to press 
his cousin, the Archbishop, in his (Boyd's) interest. 
If however he accepted the chair, Boyd refused his 
blessing and approval, and committed his own cause 
to " the righteous Judge." 

It is an unpleasant story for all parties. Boyd 
plainly shewed that he regarded the post as promised 
to him ; Strang was honestly unwilling to leave Errol, 
yet strongly tempted by the prospect of academic 
work. He was a poor preacher, and had made no 
striking appearance as an ecclesiastic. It had become 
certain that Boyd was no longer in the running. The 
new King was even less inclined than his father to 
brook opposition to his policy, and Strang seemed 
the most suitable instrument to advance it. He was 
a Royal D.D., and a member of the High Commis- 
sion ; and doubtless, though he had voted against 
the Articles of Perth, he had since conformed. His 
appointment was politically the best. He was man- 
ageable at least, while Boyd was unmanageable. 

Following Baillie, Wodrow declares that Strang, as 
Principal and Professor, discharged all his duties well. 

As Professor, he gave "theological praelections " 
twice a week, as customary in Glasgow, from the 
beginning of November to the end of July. He 
taught Hebrew, presided at the weekly disputations, 
heard the homilies and other discourses, and super- 
vised the regents or lecturers, of whose training he 
took special care. He was a strict disciplinarian ; no 

GLASGOW UNIVERSITY {1626-1650) 265 

doubt this included a vigorous use of " the belt of 
correction." ^ There were weekly censures of public 
delinquencies. He presided at all degree examina- 
tions, taking the largest share in the questions — a 
work in which he shewed " dexterity." He attended 
regularly in his place at the presbytery ; his name 
appears always first in the sederunt. When any co- 
presbyter was sick or "otherwise prevented," he 
" supplied his room in Word and Sacrament." This 
must be taken with a grain of salt, as it appears he 
was a poor preacher and seldom administered the 
Holy Communion. He was more at home "in the 
schools" (i.e. examinations and disputations). He 
had little of a preaching gift. Once, when pressed by 
David Dickson, one of his colleagues, to give the 
address at the "second table" in the Inner Church 
(College Chapel), he held up the bread, saying — 
" See, this is the papists' God ! " and proceeded to 
give a lecture on the Mass. At another Communion 
Service, he enlarged on the particle e-n-l ! Wodrow 
says — " I could give many instances of Ministers of 
Learning" who were halting and dull in the pulpit. 
He instances Calderwood, the author of the porten- 
tous History. Much of this will not be found in 
Baillie, whose short biography of Strang is peculiar 
for its omissions. Wodrow excuses Strang's failure 
as a preacher by sagely observing that it is fortunate 
when a man is equal to his proper work. Unfor- 
tunately, in law, the work of preaching and exercising 
the pastoral office is as much the "proper work" of 
the Professor of Divinity in a Scots College, as that 

iCrichton, Memoirs of Blackadder, 1826, p. 18 ; and M'Crie's 
Melville, p. 38. 


of lecturing or examining. The popular verdict on 
theological professors in Scotland, however, remains 
the same to-day as in Strang's time — that they are 
usually dull preachers. Caird, TuUoch, Charteris, 
and perhaps Flint, are the bright exceptions. Nor 
have professors been unknown in our day who were 
unskilled in the sacraments. But Wodrow adds that 
Strang amply made amends by his piety, strict dis- 
cipline, and aiFectionate care of godly students. He 
was much respected and beloved, though a source of 
weariness in the pulpit. All this gives a lifelike out- 
line of the new Principal. 

Strang took a special interest in the Common 
Table, where he dined in company with regents, 
bursars, and frequently a considerable number of 
gentlemen's and noblemen's sons. "The youth," 
says Wodrow, "being thus dieted under the eye of 
their teachers, and having their beds likewise within 
the walls of the College, made great proficiency in 
piety and good manners, and were quite removed 
from the noises and corruptions of the town." Strang 
was much keener on this common meal than many of 
his predecessors ; he sat at the head of the table 
constantly, though he lost by it in cash and conveni- 
ence. But he would not take for himself a penny of 
College money, remaining content with "his own 
sellary," though much less than Errol. Baillie sug- 
gests a violent contrast in this respect with Patrick 
Gillespie who later became Principal, and shewed a 
grasping and covetous spirit.^ 

It is however as a great business Principal that 

1 Baillie, Letters and Journals, IV. 242 ; Vita Autoris, in the 
De Interpretatione. 

GLASGOW UNIVERSITY (1626-1650) 267 

Strang is usually remembered in the records of Glas- 
gow College. Of his work in this respect, a brief 
description is given in the official Account of Glasgow 
University, edited by Professor William Stewart, 
D.D., LL.D., published in 1891 (see esp. pp. 28, 29 
on buildings). It was in his time and by his energy 
that the Inner Court of the College in the High 
Street was built on the north and south sides (Baillie 
says east, orientali), and a large and stately orchard 
was enclosed in the rear of the buildings. The neces- 
sary funds were raised by voluntary contributions, 
solicited by himself and the other masters of the 
College. Thus the Kirk Session of Ayr gave ;oo 
merks, the town of Ayr gave 200. The King gave 
3600 merks ; while Strang's lifelong friendship with 
Zachary Boyd procured from that generous donor the 
remarkable gift of 24,000 pounds Scots to build the 
"publick library" and complete other parts of 
the edifice. Zachary Boyd's effigy in stone is in the 
Library to-day, with an inscription telling the tale of 
his beneficence to his Alma Mater. 

Never was there a shrewder or stricter custodian of 
the College income. It appears that the teinds of 
Kilbride and Renfrew, granted to the College by King 
James VI., had almost disappeared, as teinds have a 
trick of doing even yet. Strang sought out and 
recovered those teinds. At the same time he obtained 
from the Crown a grant of the teinds of the Bishopric 
of Galloway. A large part of his strength and time 
was devoted to this superintendence and improvement 
of the College finances, since the other masters were 
tied to their classes, while he could "go abroad." 
Moreover, he had a peculiar genius for business ; he 


enjoyed much " interest " with lawyers ; and he never 
once lost a College law-suit. 

Strang's work as Professor of Divinity was of 
course much interrupted by such avocations ; but 
after fourteen years the General Assembly secured the 
appointment of a Professor whose work should be 
entirely confined to Divinity, and David Dickson was 
chosen as the first occupant of this chair. In 1642 
a second professor of Divinity was added in the per- 
son of Robert Baillie. In our University Calendar, 
it is stated that the Professorship of Divinity "was 
founded in 1640, and the foundation ratified by Act 
of Parliament."^ But this statement is incomplete 
if not inaccurate, because from Melville's time the 
Professorship had existed in union with the position 
of Princeps, or Principal Regent. What happened 
in 1640, when David Dickson began his work as a 
Professor of Divinity, and in 1 642 when Baillie was 
added, was that the vast and growing subject known 
as Divinity was subdivided. The Principal became 
Primar or Primarius Professor of Divinity, and by 
special arrangement undertook to explain the hard 
places of Scripture, to go through the common places 
(loci communes) of doctrine, and to preside at dis- 
putations. The senior professor of Divinity was to 
take charge of the discussion of the text of Scripture 
(Biblical Criticism), to teach "casuall (casuistical) 
Divinity" as he could undertake it, and to regulate 
the students in their composition of homilies ; and 
the junior professor was entrusted with the contro- 
versies, oriental languages, and chronology.* This 

1 Calendar of the Univ. of Glasgow, 1916, p. 185. 

^Coutts, Hist, of the Univ. of Glasgow, p. 105. 

GLASGOW UNIVERSITY (1626-1650) 269 

division of labour obviously left the Principal Pro- 
fessor at leisure to attend to the increasing duties 
devolved on him, as the University gathered strength 
and called for greater financial and administrative care. 
By it something like a faculty of theology was out- 
lined, including such subjects as Biblical Exegesis, 
Systematic Doctrine, and General Ethics (for Strang) ; 
Biblical Criticism, Special Ethics (Casuistry or Moral 
Theology), and Homiletics (for Dickson) ; and His- 
tory of Doctrine, Oriental Languages, and Church 
History (for Baillie). The classification of Modern 
Theology is of course much wider, and this Glasgow 
scheme finds no place for Theological Encyclopedia, 
Comparative Religion, Pastoral Theology, and other 
modern departments. Yet it is a really comprehen- 
sive scheme, for the times, and was probably unexcelled 
in any Scots College then existing. It shows how 
exhausting and excessive was the field hitherto 
assigned to the Principal as Professor of Divinity, 
and reflects particular credit on Strang, whose hand 
is plainly recognisable in the new arrangement. But 
for the troublous days which too soon came on Scot- 
land it would undoubtedly have produced a great 
development of Scots theology. The credit due to 
Charles I. for the provision then made for theological 
education is unhappily diminished by the ill effects 
of his determined policy of Episcopising the Scottish 
Church. In some respects, Strang's term may be 
called the Golden Age of Scots theological training ; 
but it endured only a short time, and Glasgow was 
again reduced to the lowest level in the years of 
Episcopal domination. There was also, in the com- 
bination of a professorship with the office of principal. 


even to so small an extent, the risk that the principal 
would gradually become engrossed in business to the 
neglect of teaching. This actually took place when 
Patrick Gillespie was appointed Principal in Crom- 
well's time. Baillie roundly declares of Patrick 
Gillespie, whom he correctly describes as "prime 
professor of Theologie," that " his whole dictates of 
Theology Lessons, for the space of five yeares, will be 
comprehended in two sheet of paper." ^ In fact, the 
principalship, after Strang's day, became practically 
divorced from theological duties, although to a far 
later period and up to the Universities Act of 1889, 
it was theoretically the Principal's duty to take the 
lectures of the Professor of Divinity when incapaci- 
tated, and he was distinctly recognised as Primarius 
Professor of Divinity.^ 

So far as concerns Strang, there can be no doubt 
that he bore the heavy burden of the chair of Divinity 
unaided from 1625 to 1640, and his published 
volumes show how fully and diligently he was accus- 
tomed to deal with theological doctrine. These two 
volumes, on Scripture and on Sin respectively, are 
specimens of his care and ability in the department 
of Systematic Doctrine or Dogmatics. But Baillie 
says — "In lingua Hebraea studiosos assidue in- 
stituebat," so that Hebrew also received his close 
attention. It seems likely that he was unable to do 
very much in other subjects ; but his constant super- 
vision of homiletic essays, and of the weekly disputa- 
tions, would give him regular opportunities of 

1 Baillie's Letters and Journals, Appendix to vol. III. p. 594. 

2 In 1889 the Principal was relieved of subscription to the 
Confession, and thus also of his theological responsibilities. 

GLASGOW UNIVERSITY (i 626-1 650) 271 

imparting general instruction in them all. On the 
whole, never was there a more diligent and versatile 
Professor and Principal, or one more deserving of 
grateful remembrance by his successors. Baillie 
says : " All he does is very well and accurately done, 
only the pity is the length ; but in this it is reason 
he have his will, for no principal in Scotland teaches 
one line, and he hath ane charge would kill ane ox." ^ 
It must however in fairness be added that Baillie 
suggests a different origin for the new Divinity Chair, 
namely, the growing distrust of Strang in the General 
Assembly from 1638 onward. Strang was too much 
of "a waiter on Providence" to please the dominant 
party in that Assembly. Something like clever 
manoeuvring was discovered in his policy at ,the 
Assembly and in other quarters. The Assembly 
appointed a committee of Visitors to inquire into 
University matters, and in particular to provide as 
"conjunct professor of Divinity" David Dickson of 
Irvine, "that by his grace and diligence, the great 
backwardness we had oft experienced in the College 
and Town might be remedied without any man's 
trouble" {i.e. without any process against Strang).* 
Later, BaiUie writes that Strang was very unpopular 
owing to things he had done, that visitors of the 
College were appointed : that a professor of Divinity 
was to be added ; Rutherford was spoken of for that 
post, but Dickson was " intended." ^ As the Uni- 
versity had already asked the Assembly to provide 
additions to the theological staff, and the Assembly 
had accordingly recommended the application to par- 

iBaillie's Letters and Journals, II. 71. 

2 Ibid. I. 135. Hbid. I. 172. 


liament and appointed visitors to assist the University 
in securing professors, the truth would seem to be 
that Strang himself gave the initiative, but the Assem- 
bly went further than he intended. That Baillie's 
story of Strang's unpopularity and its results is not 
baseless would seem to follow from the fact that the 
new professor, David Dickson, and the Principal, did 
not get on with each other. From the year 1640 
onward to Strang's retirement in i6£o, there are indi- 
cations of dissension, with Baillie as peacemaker. 
Strang wanted to monopolise the University's seat in 
the General Assembly. Baillie tries to reconcile them 
to each other in 1644. In 1648 he thinks he has 
got their differences " reasonable well composed ; this 
halfe year no displeasure betwixt them."^ 

However peculiar may have been the means, the 
new distribution of labour was itself most necessary 
and advantageous. The staff of three theological 
masters was unrivalled. Each has left valuable works 
which still merit a careful study, as will be shewn 
more fully in telling the story of Dickson and of 
Baillie in subsequent pages. But it is fairly certain 
that the movement for appointing a colleague or col- 
leagues to Strang arose amid the troubled currents of 
the Glasgow Assembly of 1638. With these, in so 
far as they affected Strang's whole after-life, we must 
now proceed to deal. 

The history of the Assembly in 1638 is of the 
deepest interest and deserves a renewed study and 
treatment. The issue of the Service Book and 
Canons had led to the drafting and widespread signa- 
ture of the National Covenant. The memorable 
^ Baillie, Letters and Journals, II. 86, 189 ; III. 32. 

GLASGOW UNIVERSITY (i 626-1 650) 273 

scene in the Greyfriars Churchyard on February 28, 
16385 was followed by the circulation of the Covenant 
among the presbyteries of Scotland for signature by 
their members and by the people generally. BaiUie 
writes to Strang on April 5, 1638,'- that the greatest 
opposition to Covenant-subscription was from "our 
friends in Glasgow," including Zachary Boyd. There 
was much confusion in Glasgow at the "Pasche 
Communion." Strang assisted Maxwell in serving 
four or five tables in the High Church (Cathedral), 
the communicants kneeling ; while in the Laigh Kirk, 
not on Easter day but on the Sunday following, 
Robert Wilkie and John Bell, senior, assisted David 
Dickson at the Communion, the people sitting at the 
tables. It was, says BaiUie, "a proclamation of red 
warre among the clergy of that town." He writes 
from Kilwinning where he was minister. It was also 
"red warre" in the College, because, though "all 
the Colledge" was against subscription, there were 
some who not only withheld their signatures but were 
" pathetick reasoners " against the Covenant. " But," 
adds Baillie, " the pley, I think, shall be shortly 
reedde" (i.e. The quarrel shall soon be settled).^ 
Writing in hot haste and with almost despairing 
earnestness to Strang, he approves Strang's cautious 
refusal to put his thoughts in a letter, and thanks God 
that he is weakening in his objections to the Cove- 
nant ; he emphasises the importance of Strang's 
support in the crisis — " one of the greatest occasions 
that ever ye had in your life." But Strang's offer to 
sign upon conditions Baillie dismisses somewhat 
curtly. The two conditions are characteristic: (i) 
1 Baillie, Letters and Journals, I. 63. ^ jbid. I. 63 sqq. 


He will sign in so far as not prejudicial to the King's 
authority, the episcopal office and government per se, 
and the lawful power of bishops — this, says Baillie, 
is needless because the Covenant is expressly loyal in 
its terms. (2) He will sign with "protestation that 
he is free to practise conformity in case of depriva- 
tion" — i.e. to conform to the Five Articles under 
penalty, a frank case of hedging — Baillie thinks this 
might be managed. He confirms that view by a 
notable piece of casuistry (i. 68). In his view, the 
Five Articles have always been voluntary, and will 
continue to be so after the Service-Book and Canons 
have been repealed by parliament. No doubt, it 
would be impossible to obtain for him any written 
attestation of his claim to conform if threatened with 
deprivation ; but he might surely rely on the verbal 
assurance of as many " famous men " as he required 
(demanded). And he was not wont to be scrupulous 
about mere "formalities." Baillie, as a crowning 
argument, sends him proofs of popery being Laud's 
real objective, and further offers "another little write 
of Parallele of our Service with the Masse and Brevi- 
arie." This may have been The Canterburians^ Self- 
Conviction (Ladensium Autokatakrisis), Baillie's 
first serious irruption into the controversy with Laud 
and his followers. 

The meetings of the Assembly of 1638 were pre- 
ceded by agitated conferences, and there were doubt- 
less numerous instances, like Strang's, of hesitation 
and caution. Baillie writes his own story of the 
Assembly in letters chiefly addressed to his cousin. 
Rev. William Spang, minister of the Scots Church 
at Campvere from 1630 to 1659, when he was trans- 

GLASGOW UNIVERSITY (1626-1650) 275 

lated to Middelburg, and died there in 1654. Spang 
had been a "doctor or teacher" in the Edinburgh 
High School before he went to Campvere, and was a 
man of wide reading and author of a volume called 
Historia Motuum . . .^ There was trouble about 
the appointment of representatives from the Glasgow 
University ; Strang had had the " witt " to send up 
a commission in favour of four, to be members of 
the Assembly, as if the College were a presbytery. 
The commission was challenged, and ultimately the 
University had no representative, and " stood aside." 
This brought Strang into deep disfavoxir "as a 
decliner of the Assembly." Strang also was much 
"dashed" (discredited) on account of his signing a 
protest against " lay elders," which he handed secretly 
to the Commissioner, the Marquis of Hamilton, to be 
used as a decoy for other protesters. "The invention 
(conception) we ascryved to the Principal and Mr. 
William Wilkie " (minister of Govan). At a private 
conference in Lord Loudon's chamber Strang at first 
refused to withdraw his protest because the Commis- 
sioner already had it in his possession ; at last he did 
next day unexpectedly desire that the protestation 
should be withdrawn "for a time." The Commis- 
sioner demurred, stating that it was signed not only 
by the Principal (Strang), but also by the majority of 
the Presbytery of Glasgow of whom many were 
covenanters. The Assembly nevertheless decided 
not to read the document. In the Large Declaration 
of Charles I., ascribed to Walter Balcanquall, dean of 
Durham, it is stated that Strang had been subjected 

1 Steven, Hist, of the Scottish Church, Rotterdam, pp. 5, y;^, 


to threats at the meeting in Lord Loudon's chamber, 
at which the Moderator, Henderson of Leuchars and 
others were present. Unless he withdrew the pro- 
test, they said "he must never looke to live quietly 
in Glasgow, nor any where in Scotland." His wire 
at a later hour (the private meeting was at lo p.m.) 
had begged him with tears to withdraw it.^ 

This was a bad beginning for Strang in an Assem- 
bly tuned up to the intensest note of determination, 
and Baillie notes that " the spleen of manie against 
the Principal in the Assemblie was great, for manie 
passages in his carrying in this affair, especiallie the 
last two : his subscrvying that which we affirmed, and 
he denyed, to be a protestation against elders, and so 
our Assemblie consisting of them and ministers 
elected by their voyces : also his deserting of the 
Assemblie ever since the Commissioner's departure, 
upon the pretence that, his commission being once 
cast (disallowed) because it was foure, the electors 
would not meet again to give him or any other a new 
commission. Everie other day some one or other, 
nobleman, or gentleman, or minister, was calling that 
Doctor Strang should be summond." ^ . . . Baillie 
adds that his friends got the matter delayed and finally 
dismissed ; but Wodrow has left evidence which 
incontestably establishes the fact that Strang was 
pledged to the Episcopising party before the Assem- 
bly met. The story of how the evidence reached the 
Covenanting leaders is sufficiently remarkable to be 
set down from the unpublished MS. of Wodrow's 
life of Strang : — 

' Large Declaration. By the King. 1639. P-^^7-'??- 

* Baillie, Letters and Journals, L 172. 

GLASGOW UNIVERSITY (1626-1650) 277 

" At this Assembly, the Doctor was suspected by 
many as not so forward for the Covenant and the 
Explication the ministers now put on it, as many 
others were ; and this raised considerable jealousie of 
him among those who were most forward in adhering 
to and carrying on our Reformation-work. And 
though what I am to lay before the reader was not 
known till some years after, by severall branches of 
the Doctor's carriage he was suspected to have some 
warm side to those who then were named Malignants 
and opposers of the work of Reformation now begin- 
ning. And 'tis very certain both sides were very 
willing to have so great and learned a person with 
them. Dr. Walter Balcanquell, Dean of Rochester, 
a great stickler at this time in our Scots affairs in 
behalf of the falling and building of prelacy, came 
down to Scotland with the Marquise of Hamiltoun 
and was at Hamiltoun during the sitting of the 
Assembly at Glasgow. With him at that time, Mr. 
William Wilkie, minister at Govan, corresponded, as 
appears from severall original letters from him to Dr. 
Balcanquell in my hands. Bound up in the same 
packet with them I have a letter from Dr. Strang to 
the Dean (but what time, I cannot say, it wanting 
date), with a very large paper upon the Covenant. 

"Before I come to insert Dr. Strang's letter, let 
me give a hint of what I know of thir original papers. 
I had them among many other originall letters and 
papers belonging to the Rev. Mr. Robert Douglas, 
minister at Logic, as I have publickly owned in the 
History of the Sufferings of this Church after the 
Restoration ; and the Principal's paper upon the 
Covenant were (sic) found after Nasby rancounter, or 


some otherwhere Dr. Balcanquell happened to be, in 
a trunk found among the baggage which fell into the 
hand of the parliament's army. Those papers, when 
seen to relate to Scots affairs, were taken up to Lon- 
don and lodged in the hands of our Commissioners 
from Scotland to the General Assembly.^ Hints of 
them, it seems, came down to Scotland, and it was 
some time before the Commissioners at London saw 
meet to send them down when desired to doe so. 
The papers at length were sent down, with the follow- 
ing letter to Mr. Robert Douglas as a wrapper to 
them. I shall transcribe it here from the original. 
It is directed To the Right Reverend Mr. Robert 
Douglas, Minister at Edinburgh: — 

Sr. The reason for which we have so long 
detained those letters and papers herewith sent is, 
That it was our opinion and likewise our brother 
Mr. Henderson's when here, that they should not 
be made publick, but. resorted to to keep the per- 
sons that wrote them in aw, and as a mean to 
winn them to a strict and circumspect carriage in 
their callings. And being now required to send 
them to the Commission of the G. Assembly, we 
have directed them to you, that ye may make such 
use of them as ye shall see fitt. And we remain 

Your very afFectionat Brethren, 

29 Sept. 1646. Loudoun Lauderdail. 

_, 1 ... r A. TOHNSTOUN. 

I. \\ru'\Ju -f f Samuel Rutherfurd. 

Mr. W,ll : Wilkie s, one of q^^ Gillespie. 

Doctor Strang s, and a Robert Bailie. 

* i.e. the Westminster Assembly of Divines. 

GLASGOW UNIVERSITY (1626-1650) 279 

Mr. Baillie, colleague to the principal and who writes 
of him with great respect, I conjecture brought the 
Commissioners to keep up these letters, and when 
urged to send them down, to give their opinion in the 
terms we see. Indeed, the principal was a man of 
that character, as he was worth preserving as long as 
he could be usefuU." 

Wodrow then discusses the dates of Wilkie's 
letters, of which he found only six, and settles them 
by the facts of Balcanquall's promotion from Rochester 
to the Deanery of Durham shortly before the Assem- 
bly met in 1638. The same method fixes the date of 
Strang's undated note addressed to the Right Wor- 
shipfuU Doctor Balcanquell, Dean of Rochester. It 
becomes in this way certain that Strang was in cor- 
respondence with Balcanquall long before the Assem- 
bly, and had lent him much aid on the anti-Cove- 
nanting side. A letter from Balcanquall to Laud in 
October, 1638, is printed in the appendix to Baillie's 
Letters and Journals, i. 475-7, mentioning a " protes- 
tation " by the " Principall of the CoUedge of Glasco, 
the learned'st covenanter in Scotland, but so fearfuU 
(timid) that he darre not owne it ; and indeed if it 
should be knowen, beside his danger we should loose 
that great use which my Lord Commissioner maketh 
of him. My L. Commissioner meaneth presently 
(immediately) to putte it to the presse." There is 
no doubt that the so-called "protestation" was the 
document described in the Scots Commissioners' 
covering note as a " treatise." The following letter 
from Strang to Balcanquall, referred to above, speaks 
for itself: — 


"Right worshipfull S''- 

... I am loath that the write which ye sent 
to me be published, and I hope ye will not do it 
till you be better advysed and at least have revised 
and corrected it carefully ; yet I have resolved to 
satisfy your desire and to send it back to you, after 
the manner ye require, — to Patrick Hamiltoun, 
my Lord's Baillie, dwelling in Hamiltoun, upon 
Munday next, inclosed in a paper directed to you. 
He will deliver it to any bearer whom you please 
to direct to him, to receive it (for this, I think, is 
the safest way ; and ye will not want occasion to 
send to Hamiltoun for it, miskenning my name). 
I cannot be answerable for the correct wryting in 
all points, especially for the spelling, which ye will 
not easily get helped. I will not be content that 
my name be any way heard in the matter. I 
lippen to your word, and shall alwise remain 

Yours at command, to power, 

A. C.» 
Read and ryve (tear up). 

Wodrow's comments are as usual mild and 
tolerant ; it was no doubt, he observes, important 
for Strang to have his correspondence with the Dean 
kept secret. He had sent to that dignitary a reasoned 
statement of his views on the crisis, in a sense so 
favourable to the Episcopising party that the Lord 
High Commissioner had decided to publish the paper 
at once. Balcanquall had returned it with a request 
for revision, and Strang complied in the circuitous 
way which he describes. The "Treatise," according 

GLASGOW UNIVERSITY (1626-1650) 281 

to David Laing, is in the Archives of the Church of 
Scotland, Wodrow MSS. vol. 31, No. 2. The 
originals of the letters picked up at Naseby are in vol. 
25. These letters are printed in Baillie's Letters and 
Journals, Appendix to vol. i. pp. 481-491. They 
merit careful study, as they reveal the practices of 
Mr. William Wilkie of Govan, a near relation of 
Strang, whom Hailes describes as "a sort of ecclesi- 
astical spy." It appears that William Wilkie had a 
brother for whom he sought preferment to the Master- 
ship of the Savoy or other benefice. It remains 
uncertain from the letters whether the Dean paid him 
his price ; but Wilkie himself was suspended and 
finally deposed. Strang must be held privy to 4iis 
doings, though he escaped the penalty. 

The "Treatise" runs to twenty-eight closely 
written pages in folio, and is prefaced by a letter 
"To his Beloved Brother, J.D." (James Durham.''). 
This letter is a plea for loyalty to the King, and plainly 
enough shews how Strang's sympathies lay. The 
Treatise itself deals with the entire situation from the 
same standpoint, and is a thoroughly ex parte state- 
ment. The suspicious secrecy observed by Strang is 
notable ; his letter is signed A. C, the instniction is 
given to " read and ryve," his paper is to be published 
(if published at all) without his name. What his 
price was (if any price was in his mind) can only be 
conjectured. A bishopric would not have been exces- 
sive for a man in his high rank. Balcanquall's 
opinion of his agent is clear enough — a man most 
learned, a Covenanter, but so timid that he dared not 
appear openly, and indeed would cease to be " useful " 
if he did so. It is a sad revelation of Strang's 


"prudence," and might furnish a homily on the 
temptations of the via media in Church matters. 

The "Treatise" is docketed by Balcanquall "The 
Principal of Glasgow against the Covenant," and 
entitled by its author " Reasons why all his Majesty's 
orthodox Subjects in Scotland, and namely those who 
subscribed the late Covenant, should thankfully 
acquiesce in to his Majesty's Late Declaration." In 
Wodrow's opinion, it was based on a misreading of 
history, inasmuch as Strang contended that the 
original Reformers, headed by Knox, had regarded 
Episcopacy as lawful. Combined with Strang's pro- 
testation against elders, it establishes the fact that he 
was entirely out of sympathy with the Covenanting 
party, though he continued to confer with them and 
to acquire knowledge of their programme. While 
such tactics may be defended on the plea that they 
were not unknown on the other side, they can hardly 
be reconciled with perfect straightforwardness, especi- 
ally in one who filled his high and sacred office. They 
compare unfavourably with the conduct of his pre- 
decessor Cameron, who after all was an out-and-out 
King's man, and may almost be said to have fallen a 
martyr in the royal cause. 

The secret of this private correspondence with 
Laud's agent in Scotland was well kept up to the end 
of 1646. Strang took his place in the General 
Assembly unchallenged, though not unsuspected. 
In 1 64 1, there was a slight breeze in the Assembly 
over Baillie's appointment to the place of second pro- 
fessor. Dickson had been doing a great deal of 
preaching in Glasgow, along with his lecture work, 
and had declared that he expected Baillie to make up 

GLASGOW UNIVERSITY (i 626-1 650) 283 

deficiencies in the latter. Some members, who rightly 
held that there should be no " mixing of offices," 
raised the question of this combination of the preacher 
or pastor and the professor ; on discussion it was 
"gladly condescended (granted) that it should be 
leasmne (lawful) for him (Dickson) to exercise so 
much of the ministrie ... as he fand himselfe able 
without detriment to his profession (professorship)." ^ 
Strang had not been consulted about this, and on that 
ground he made complaint. After Philiphaugh 
■(September 13, 1645), Strang was in much danger: 
Montrose's temporary success had betrayed Strang 
into some public sympathy with the anti-Covenanting 
party : Philiphaugh brought imprisonment and fines 
to some, and Baillie says — " I fear the Principall's 
-case shall be little better." ^ The sending down of 
Strang's compromising letter and "Treatise" in 
September, 1646, brought matters to a head. The 
secret was out. And Baillie must have known that 
this lay at the bottom of the "great dinn in all our 
Universities and Assemblies about the Principall's 
dictats," though he adds — " To this day I could never 
liear the true ground of it." Wilkie had certainly 
been made the scapegoat ; and Baillie confesses that 
he, and only he, was the cause of Wilkie's downfall. 
But Wilkie was only a go-between, who lurked at the 
Commissioner, Hamilton's, gate.^ The arrival of 
the letters from the Scots Commissioners, with a note 
from them signed among the rest by Baillie, is quite 

> Baillie, op. cit. I. 374. 

*Ibid. 11. 321. He adds: "It's good to be honest at the 

8 Ibid. I. 490. 


enough to explain the "great dinn." Yet Baillie 
cannot restrain his grief and anger at the dead set 
which was now made against his reverend friend 
and father-in-law. " Ding his bussiness dead so 
soon as yow are able! " he writes from London to 
George Young, one of the "moderators" of the 
University of Glasgow ; and he adds that he cannot 
digest the tendency or movement to submit a pro- 
fessor's dictates to the General Assembly and the 
other Universities.^ The General Assembly had by 
this time actually taken that step, by remitting to a 
committee to examine the dictates. The Committee 
included Alexander Henderson, Robert Douglas, 
George Gillespie from Edinburgh : Robert Blair, 
Samuel Rutherford, David Forret, James Wood from 
St. Andrews : Andrew Cant, William Douglas, and 
William Strachan from Aberdeen ; and David Dick- 
son, Robert Ramsay, Robert Baillie from Glasgow ; 
with delegates from other presbyteries, among whom 
were Edward Calderwood, Robert Knox, James 
Guthrie, Robert Leighton, etc. They were directed 
to make accurate scrutiny to see whether the dictates 
contained anything contrary to Reformed teaching, 
or even si ullae phrases essent quae veritatis hostibus 
faverent (to quote Baillie's Latin version). For this 
purpose, it was recited that Strang had delivered to 
them his volume of dictates, to be returned on their 
honour after examination. They were also to confer 
with Dr. Strang, and report. A year after, the com- 
mittee reported that they had found some things so 
expressed that scruples had arisen therefrom to grave 
and learned men ; but having heard Dr. Strang's 
1 Baillie, ibid. II. 404. 

GLASGOW UNIVERSITY (1626-1650) 285 

explanations, and also received from him certain addi- 
tional words to be inserted, they were satisfied of his 

This was in August, 1 647, and it might have been 
expected that the storm would be allayed. Baillie 
himself states that it arose simply from some differ- 
ences of opinion, between Strang on the one hand 
and Dr. Twisse and Samuel Rutherford on the other, 
in respect of scholastic speculations about the relation 
of Divine Providence to Sin.^ The special points 
were submitted to Spang by Baillie in a letter of 
June, 1647, before the meeting of Assembly which 
exonerated Dr. Strang. They were such as the rela- 
tion of the Divine Decrees to the existence of Sin. 
Strang held that, in order to avoid making God the 
author of Sin, Sin itself must be entirely excluded 
from the scope of the Decrees. " I do not like," says 
Baillie, "his withdrawing from the Divine Decree 
the act and entitle of any sinne, much less of free and 
indifferent actions." He adds that he will endeavour 
to persuade the Assembly not to meddle with such 
subtle questions, but leave them to the schools . ' From 
this it may fairly be concluded that the Assembly's 
judgment in favour of Strang's orthodoxy was a fore- 
gone conclusion, and largely the result of private 
"friendship. The real charge was one of "Laudian, 
popish, and Arminian schemes in point of doctrine," 
as Wodrow puts it, adding that he had it from 
P. Simpson of Renfrew, "an old minister," that 
Strang narrowly escaped being "staged (libelled) for 

1 Wod. MSS. Glasg. vol. IL 

2 Baillie in the De Interpretatione. 

* Baillie, Letters and Journals, III. 5, 6. 


his Dictates, which were smoothed in his printed 
Book." "He would have been removed from his 
place if he had not admitted it." These phrases put,, 
colloquially, what is more obscurely expressed in the 
Assembly's deliverance by the statement that Strang 
had supplied of his own accord several words of 

Such a result left the complainants unsatisfied. 
They could not of course revive the question in the 
Supreme Court ; but Baillie declares that they did 
not allow Strang to remain long at peace. Wearied 
out by their annoyance of him, he ceased to lecture, 
expressing the wish to enjoy an honourable leisure 
in his old age (he was but sixty-four), and to give 
final revision to his writings. To this desire the 
whole University demurred, and gave at last a very 
unwilling consent. At length in 1650, Strang was 
relieved of his post, with a most flattering eulogium 
and a liberal pension.'- The Visitors of the College 
issued on April 19, 1650, the following testimonial : — 

"The Visitors of the CoUedge of Glasgow 
appointed by the Estates of the Kingdom, and 
General Assembly, having read and considered a 
Supplication presented to them by Doctor John 
Strang, the tenor of which followeth : ' Unto the 
Reverend and Honourable Visitors of the Colledge 
of Glasgow appointed by the Estates of the King- 
dom, and General Assembly, humbly sheweth, John 
Strang, D.D. Whereas I can assert from the 
bottom of my heart that I cordially assent to the 
Synod of Dort and Confession of Faith sett forth 

1 Baillie in the de Interpretatione. 

GLASGOW UNIVERSITY (1626-1650) 287 

by the Church of Scotland, both new, ancient, 
and modern, in every article, and particularly in 
those that relate to the Decrees of God, his provi- 
dence, election, Grace, and Free-will, and other 
heads, anent which some objections were made 
against my Dictates ; I therefore humbly begg that 
you will grant me your testimonial of my ortho- 
doxy as to those points.' The forsaid Visitors 
charitably judging and believing the truth of what 
the Doctor so' solemnly declares, do grant him a 
Testimonial of his orthodoxy and right sentiments 
according to his forsaid declaration. And further, 
the said Visitors, in testimony of their affection to 
the Doctor, appoint and ordain, that not only the 
whole of the sallarie belonging to the Principall 
of this CoUedge for the year 1650 be intirely given 
to him, but further, that during all the dayes of his 
life, that he have a thousand merks Scots paid to 
him by the University yearly, and two hundred 
pounds more money forsaid, as often as the cir- 
cumstances of the Colledge affairs can allow it." 

As will be noted, the certificate of orthodoxy was 
asked for by Strang, and he himself clearly indicates 
the points in which his orthodoxy had been attacked. 
They may all be embraced under the question of the 
Divine Decrees, although they raise several other 
important questions ; and they were all notoriously 
involved in the issues decided against Arminianism 
at Dort in 161 8. The response of the Visitors to 
Strang's request is sufficiently cordial, and the 
financial provision, for the times, was generous. 
Strang retained the confidence of his immediate circle 


in University and General Assembly. Even one so 
firm in his principles as George Gillespie submitted 
to him that important pronouncement on Church 
Government entitled " One Hundred and eleven Pro- 
positions concerning the Ministry and Government 
of the Church," Edin. 4to. 1647. T^is was a some- 
what testing matter for one like Strang, who had 
special sympathies and relations with Laud. Strang's 
comments, of which Wodrow preserves some speci- 
mens, are guarded but significant, leaning mostly to 
a more liberal theory than Gillespie and his school 
represented. There remains little doubt of the 
genuine affection felt for Strang by his friends. It 
had been sorely tried, and was amply displayed. 
Henderson had advised that the incriminating Balcan- 
quall papers should be held in retentis. Baillie had 
concurred, and had laboured his hardest to "ding 
down " the movement directed against the Principal : 
the Assembly's committee had permitted him to 
^' smooth down " his Dictates on the Decrees ; finally, 
when he sought an honourable retreat from a position 
which was no longer tenable, the Visitors dismissed 
him with a handsome absolution and a generous 
allowance for his support. Nevertheless, his retire- 
ment marked a victory for the Covenanting party, 
and a real defeat for Baillie. For as late as 1649, 
Baillie had told Spang that he had "got the Prin- 
cipal reasonably faire off" ; but it had cost him much 
"fasch" (worry), and he can but console himself by 
reflecting that even the " super-excellent Mr. Hender- 
son" was once under "a cloud of infamie."^ The 
reference here is to the widespread rumour that 
1 Baillie, ibid. III. 93. 

GLASGOW UNIVERSITY (162 6- 1650) 289 

Henderson had died of grief caused by his failure in 
conference with Charles I. at Newcastle in 1646; 
and that he had made a death-bed recantation of his 
life-long principles.^ Baillie was quickly undeceived. 
A letter reached him from Robert Blair, dated July 
29, 1650, to warn him against further "inter- 
meddling " in Strang's behalf, which might " defyle 
your conscience and destroy your name, which already 
suffers not a little. . . . Get you to your book and 
your work, and meddle not unhappilie to your pre- 


" 2 


Strang was very loth to resign : " his demission," 
says Baillie, " was very much grating to him." " I 
see," he remarked, " they will have me to lay down 
my charge, and I see not whom they have to fill my 
room unless it be that young lad that is this year 
done with his philosophic, Hugo Binning." Wod- 
row, who records this remark, treats it as a proof of 
Strang's keen discernment of rising talent ; but it 
was rather a petulant expression of his contempt for 
the theological attainments of the Covenanting party. 
Binning was not twenty at this time, and the sugges- 
tion that he should succeed to the office conveyed a 
cutting sarcasm. It was however true that Strang's 
place proved difficult to fill. James Durham had 
been thought of ; he had actually been appointed to 
the first chair of Divinity in Dickson's place, but had 
never been admitted, as he was transferred to a chap- 

1 The whole matter is well summed up in the excellent mono- 
graph on Alexander Henderson the Covenanter, by J. P. Thomson, 
1912, pp. 147-150. Mr. Thomson fell in battle in 1916 — a loss 
to historical science. 

2 Baillie, III. 105. 


laincy with the forces of the new King, Charles II. ; 
so that he was out of the question at that juncture. 
The Rector's meeting nominated unanimously Mr. 
Robert Ramsay, one of the regents, and he accepted 
this rather hasty call at once and took oath of office. 
But ere long Ramsay died : Baillie himself was pressed 
to take the office and declined, because "I knew it 
belonged to Dr. Strang " ; and Patrick Gillespie, 
George's brother, began to be canvassed for Principal, 
a proposal which Baillie unthinkingly dismisses as 
"exceeding absurd." At last the dominant Cove- 
nanters appointed Patrick Gillespie, with John Young, 
a regent in philosophy, as junior professor of Divinity. 
Baillie, to the end loyal to Strang, protested, and 
refused to recognise either P. Gillespie or Young as 
lawfully elected. His view was that Strang was still 
Principal, and Durham professor next to him : which 
shows how far prejudice may lead a man. Nor does 
he cease to record any circumstance which suggests 
that the new Principal had been forcibly intruded to 
Strang's detriment. Gillespie, he declares, deprived 
Strang of a chamber constantly assigned to him, and 
gave it to Young by force; and he "quarrelled" 
Strang's College accounts. This was in the very year 
of Strang's decease, which thus took place amid storm 
and contention.^ 

Thus ended Strang's long tenure of the double 
office of Principal and Professor of Divinity. A few 
particulars may be added, chiefly from the Muni- 
menta, concerning his varied activities. The minutes 
show that early, in his first year of office, on March i, 
1626, he obtained a resolution of the Senate confining 

1 Baillie, III. 150, 237, 238, 242. 

GLASGOW UNIVERSITY (i 626-1 650) 291 

the right to grant College holidays to the Principal, 
and withholding it entirely from the Rector. ,The 
Rector (Robert Scot) was present and consenting. 
He was thenceforth neither to give nor to ask for 
ludendi veniam} The asking is however long since 
restored as a privilege of the Rector. On 20th 
August, 1628, it was unanimously resolved that all 
those entitled to elect regents to their chairs should 
beforehand swear to choose the best man whether as 
principal or as regent.^ In 1628, the senate regulated 
the honoraria payable to regents ; if the class-collec- 
tion exceeded 40 pounds Scots, it was to be unlawful 
to give or to accept more. To the merenda after 
examinations (commonly called charitatis poculum or 
loving-cup) none were to be invited but the ordinary 
examiners, and the Glasgow city ministers along with 
the Ludimagister (Master of the Grammar School), 
these being examiners extra ordinem. Nor were 
others besides to be supplied with tickets (chirothecis) 
at the common expense ; and the cost of such tickets 
must not exceed sixteen pounds Scots. This sump- 
tuary regulation was evidently intended to discourage 
the practice of regents " touting " for students, and 
students from bribing examiners and from holding 
extravagant festivities after degree examinations. 

From February 27, 1645, onward, there is a series 
of regulations concerning hours, examinations, gradu- 
ations, punishment for speaking Scots too broadly 
and too often (nimis Scotice), chxxrch attendance and 
devotional exercises and lessons, sittings in church, 
the supply of Divinity students, waiting on the Prin- 
cipal before enrolment in regents' classes, holding 
iMunimenta, II. 301. * Ibid. II. 302. 



disputations on Saturdays in public, supervision by 
the Principal of dictates, etc., in the regents' classes, 
suppression of vernacular speech by students in 
academic costume. The regulation or resolution as 
regards supply of Divinity students is dated Decem- 
ber lo, 1647. By it the Ludimagister was directed 
to get the Town Council to visit the Grammar School 
within twenty days ; and the Dean of Faculty was 
delegated to write to each presbytery in the Synods 
of Glasgow and Ayr, urging that students of Theo- 
logy might be sent up to the University without 
further delay. It is noteworthy that for 1647 there 
is no list of students whatever recorded in the Muni- 
menta. In 1648 only two theological students are 
recorded. It was about this time that the pressure on 
Strang to resign grew stronger.^ 

On December 27, 1648, we find a valuable oudine 
of the course of study in the various classes (Muni- 
menta, II. pp. 316-320). The particulars are of con- 
siderable interest from an educational standpoint, and 
may be found stated in detail in Coutts' History of 
the University of Glasgow, pp. 1 08-1 11. For our 
immediate purpose, it is enough to point out that 
there was no special method or programme approved 
for the teaching of Divinity. The course prescribed 
was an Arts Course culminating in the Master's 
degree ; but there is at the close of the enactment the 
following reference to Religious Instruction : — 

"In order that the youth may make progress not 
only in human but also in divine wisdom, the Masters 
are to see that the Catechisms (praelecta chatechetica) 
are accurately committed to memory, the Novitii to 

^ But the plague raging in 1 645-1 648 might account for this. 

GLASGOW UNIVERSITY (1626-1650) 293 

be proficient in one-half of the Palatine Catechism, 
the Semi-Baccalaurei in the whole of it. The Bacca- 
laurei and Magistrandi to be drilled (exerceantur) in 
the loci communes^ and in the controversies, of which 
David Pareus treats in his Commentaries on the 
Palatine Catechism, against the Roman Catholics, 
Lutherans, Arminians, Socinians, Anabaptists, and 
other enemies of the truth." ^ 

The omission of any mention of Theology is not 
surprising, because it was regarded as a post-graduate 
discipline, practically controlled by the Church through 
its presbyteries. The presbyterial examinations and 
exercises represented this control in a way and to an 
extent but faintly indicated at the present day. There 
was no scruple, however, felt in teaching New Testa- 
ment Greek and Hebrew as part of the Arts Course, 
so that the theological student came to his special 
studies in Divinity already so far fitted to make 
progress without grammatical or linguistic delays. 
The old method of regenting (i.e. each regent carry- 
ing his class through the whole course) had been 
restored, and thus the professor of Divinity and his 
colleagues were charged with the entire work of 
training the theologues or Divinity students. 

Some of the entries yield a picture of Strang as a 
thoroughly alert and practical man. One of them 
records the rule that each person who got a key to the 
" door-lock of the Bak Hall " should give a written 
receipt for it, undertaking not to lose it or to lend it 
to students ; or to lend it to any others without a 
common agreement. This was signed by the prin- 
cipal and regents, as well as by others entided to 
1 Munimenta, II. 319. 


ingress. Strang was most careful about the College 
board or rations ; there are preserved two contracts 
for board, one made with John Grahame as Provisour 
or Victualler, at loo merks salary with his board, the 
other with James Stirling, who was to board the 
" founded persons " at a quarterly rate of 46 pounds 
Scots for the Principal and each of the regents, and 
of 26 pounds Scots for each of the bursars. There 
were to be three "meatless days," Friday, Saturday, 
and Wednesday. The food seems to have been 
abundant in other respects.^ 

It was in Strang's time that a vigorous attempt 
was made to secure a uniform Cursus Philosophiae 
(or Arts Curriculum) for the four universities. On 
this undertaking a Commission of the General 
Assembly laboured for some time, and framed certain 
regulations ; but the scheme broke down owing to 
the different atmospheres of the universities. In 
some Ramus was favoured ; others, like Glasgow, 
preferred Aristotle. At a later date, the same difficult 
undertaking was again attempted.^ The problem of 
Education for the Scottish Ministry was always in the 
forefront, and it remains to-day unsolved. 

As we close this account of Strang's professorship 
of Divinity, we cannot help regretting that he was 
withdrawn from his special theological work by the 
distractions of ecclesiastical politics, and the growing 
burden of his duties as Principal, to which also his 

1 Munimenta, III. pp. 532, 539-40; see for details Coutts' 
History, pp. 91-100. 

'Bower, Hist, of the Univ. of Edinburgh, vol. I. pp. 218 and 

GLASGOW UNIVERSITY (1626-1650) 295 

strong practical instinct allured him. But we recog- 
nise that he was a most valuable head to the struggling 
College, and left it much improved in buildings, 
finances, and organisation. For these undeniable 
achievements he was revered and respected, though 
his theology passed under a cloud for a time. 

IV. The Last Years (1650-1654) 

After the painful business of resigning was com- 
pleted, Strang employed his leisure in the preparation 
of his works for the press. He continued to reside 
in Glasgow, though deprived in 1653 of his 
"chamber" in the College buildings. According to 
Baillie, the new Principal, Patrick Gillespie, had 
" made him flitt from his house ; and when he was 
unwilling to give him the key of his chamber in the 
Colledge, till he had been heard in a Facultie to speak 
for his right, without more adoe he causes break up 
the doore, and put on a new lock, and setts Mr. John 
Young in the chamber, which we thought he would 
not have accepted." Strang had presented 600 merks 
long before for the building of those " chambers," 
and the Faculty had unanimously assigned him one 
of them for life.^ Thus become an outcast from his 
old realm, Strang gradually declined in health. At 
length, at the end of May, 1654, having gone to 
Edinburgh on business, he caught a fever of which 
he died on June 20, 1654, aged 70. During his 
twenty days' illness, he had numerous visitors who 
were greatly edified by his sense of the love of God, 
his humility, piety, faith, and penitence, and his extra- 

1 Baillie, Lett, and Journals, III. 242. 


ordinary longing for things celestial. So writes 
Baillie in his Fita Jut or is. He adds that Robert 
Douglas and David Dickson, ministers of Edinburgh 
(Dickson had become Professor there in 1650), fre- 
quently came to converse and pray with him, and 
noted how great an abundance of the Holy Spirit 
refreshed him to his last breath, which he drew at 
8 a.m. on June, 20, feriae secundae. Two days after, 
amid a very great assembly of all ranks, he was con- 
veyed to his burial. His grave had been chosen near 
that of Robert Boyd of Trochrigg in the Greyfriars 
Churchyard. They had been friends in youth ; the 
struggle for preferment had for a time estranged 
them ; but they now came together in silence and 

He was a man, says Baillie, of great moderation 
all his life, and enjoyed such health that he never had 
a day's illness till the very end. He had thrice mar- 
ried and had many children, of whom only four 
daughters survived him. His son William died in 
1 65 1 at twenty-two, a youth of the highest promise 
who had already won an excellent reputation as a 
regent in philosophy. It was a great blow to his 
father, following as it did the troubles of his resigna- 
tion of office. The father's Latin epitaph for the 
tombstone ^ ran in English thus — 

Learned and good, a youth of heavenly mind, 
To heaven upborne, his soul he soon resigned. 

" Whom the gods love die young." 

Three of the four daughters married ; the youngest 

1 William Strang is buried in the "tomb of the Strangs in 
Glasgow."— Wodrow MSS. 

THE LAST YEARS (1650-1654) 297 

died unmarried. Strang was "in prosperity much 
blessed by God ; he left his family amply provided 
for, but not to the detriment of his friends who were 
in poverty or of the public interest. Beyond his gener- 
ous gifts while he lived, he left them legacies of more 
than 10,000 merks — an example not too common." 

Strang did not lack his own epitaphs. Baillie 
prints two of them — the first a series of Latin elegiacs, 
novercantibus Musis (as the venerable author says), 
by Andrew Ramsay octogenarius ; the second by 
James Wright, minister of Cockburnspath. The 
latter in his verses recalls the former luminaries of 
Glasgow University: — Melville, who brought to 
Glasgow the culture alike of Athens, Greece, and 
Zion : Smeaton, the wanderer in foreign lands : Boyd, 
who dropped words sweet as the honey of Zion: 
Cameron, whom France both prepared and finished in 
his accomplishments. He rather unkindly omits 
Patrick Sharp. Strang, like the phoenix, had risen 
from the ashes of our sorrow for such great losses ; 
in him Melville, Boyd, Smeaton and Cameron lived 
again. Such are the hyperboles of the minister of 

It remains to notice briefly the two posthumous 
volumes of Strang. According to Wodrow, he had 
no ambition of authorship, and his teaching became 
noteworthy first through the efforts of "those who 
pushed at him," i.e. his critics in the General Assem- 
bly. Owing to the need of self-vindication, he was 
forced out of his beloved privacy. Of the published 
work Wodrow's opinion is cautious, especially 
regarding the Be Voluntate Dei. The treatment of 


its subtle questions was, he thought, "too nice," 
turning on very narrow points. Wodrow rather 
shies at it. Baillie says it was entrusted by Spang to 
the Elzevirs to print, and the editorial task was 
accepted by Alexander Moore (Morus), who rather 
injudiciously dedicated the volume to M. Mestrezat, 
pastor at Paris. The dedicatory letter led to fresh 
troubles in the theological world, for Mestrezat was 
not free from suspicion. He had studied theology 
at Saumur, and Saumur was now the haunt of a 
modified Arminianism. He became a noted dispu- 
tant with Roman Catholic apologists, such as the 
Jesuit Veron, Pere Regourd, and the famous Abbe 
de Retz, afterwards Cardinal. A good story is told 
of his disputation with De Retz. Mestrezat shewed 
such skill and delicatesse at a rather awkward point 
for the Abbe's hopes of preferment, that the Abbe 
paid him a grateful compliment on his courtesy. 
Mestrezat promptly replied — " II n'est juste d'em- 
pecher M. I'Abbe de Retz d'etre Cardinal ! " 
Mestrezat was of sufficient eminence to justify a 
dedication, for he had been a Moderator of the 
Assembly (Charenton, 1631), he was a great preacher, 
and he took high rank as an authority on University 
education.^ Moore himself was professor at Amster- 
dam when Spang laboured at Campvere.^ He also 
was throughout nearly all his career under clouds of 
suspicion, first of coquetting with Rome, and latterly 
of being somewhat irregular in his conduct. The 
choice of an editor by Spang was therefore unfor- 

1 Larousse, sub voce Mestrezat. Haag, La France Prot. VII. 


2 Steven, Scott. Church, Rotterdam, p. 288. 

THE LAST YEARS (1650- 1654) 299 

tunate ; and Moore shewed his characteristic indis- 
cretion. In directing some blows against the critics 
of Strang's orthodoxy, he managed to suggest that 
Strang's book De Voluntate Dei showed affinity to 
the views of Amyraut, Mestrezat, and "other New 
Methodists" in France. This, Baillie stamps as "a 
groundless calumnie." Moore in a letter to the 
Reader (the modern preface) denounces the "syco- 
phants and slanderers " who spared no pains to annoy 
Strang by arts worthy only of mere technologi and 
theologastri, charging him with heresy, and with a 
secret sympathy with the Arminians ; " as they were 
called." " I knew," he writes " a man to whom the 
same charge was laid by those who, though almost 
ignorant of things and names, nevertheless sat as 
judges. ' What think you of the five articles of the 
Herminians ? ' asked the pontiff who was moderator, 
consulting his notes. The answer was — 'The Her- 
minians are not mentioned in the list of heretics.' 
The questioner, a man venerable so far as his awful 
and bristling beard was concerned, cries with lifted 
eyebrows — 'He's a heretic himself who would say 
so ! ' The other submits that there are no such 
beings in nature as Herminians ; and while the rest 
of the presbytery indulged in a knowing smile, the 
aged and excellent moderator insists that he is right, 
and adds, ' You can't m.ake a fool of the old man ! ' 
So I read in some musty records which I have by me. 
That old man was never after of account in that pres- 
bytery." It is a good presbytery story, and will bring 
something of a blush to the cheek of incompetent 
examiners. Moore did not improve matters by sub- 
joining a fulsome epigram on Strang and Spang, as 


author and editor ; and some hendecasyllabic lines of 
a sufficiendy provoking character. Baillie declares 
that Spang did not see these effusions until the book 
appeared, and he excuses Moore on account of his 
intimate friendship with Mestrezat. It appears that 
the prefatory matter was to have been supplied by 
Baillie himself, who however was unexpectedly 
hindered from sending it in time. 

The second volume, De Interpretatione et Perfec- 
tione Scripturae suffered from inferior printing, and 
was not done by the Elzevirs like its predecessor. It 
was produced at Rotterdam in 1663, after Baillie, its 
editor, had himself died. In addition to the admir- 
able discussion of the doctrine of Scripture, it contains 
a lengthy treatise on the Sabbath and the Lord's Day, 
a second much shorter on the Image of God in Man, 
and a third on Divorce and Polygamy. They are all 
excellent examples of Strang's painstaking and 
judicious work. 

It was by the cruelty of fate that so cautious, 
deliberate, and conscientious a Avriter should ever 
have been charged with heresy. Perhaps, after all, 
the true reason was that given by Moore, quod 
Ecclesiae regnique perturbatoribus noluit accedere. 
Strang would not throw himself whole-heartedly into 
the Covenanting counsels. Like his son-in-law, 
Baillie, he trimmed, procrastinated, and manoeuvred. 
His fair fame unavoidably suffered by such a course. 
It was no doubt a difficult time to live in. In his 
favour we may remember that, however much he 
suffered for his temperament, he did no harm to his 
University. Rather he left it better endowed, accom- 
modated, and staffed than he found it. Thus, if he 

THE LAST YEARS (i 650-1 654) 301 

failed as a theologian and ecclesiastic, he was a decided 
success as a Principal. 

Works of John Strang 

1. Joannis Strangii, SS. Theologiae Doctoris et in Academia 

Glasguensi Professoris Primarii, De Voluntate et 
Actionibus Dei circa Peccatum Libri quatuor, Ecclesiae 
Reformatarum, inprimis Scoticanae, judicio humiliter 
oblati, et lubentissime submissi. Amstelodami, apud 
Ludovicum et Danielem Elzevirios : 1657. 

2. Joannis Strangii Sacrae Theologiae Doctoris, et in 

Academia Glasguensi Professoris Primarii, De Interpre- 
tatione et perfectione Scripturae . . . una cum opusculis 
de Sabbato, Imagine Dei, Polygamia, et aliis. Etiam 
Autoris Vita. Roterodami, in Officina Arnoldi Leers : 

Bibliography for the Life of John Strang 

1. Life, by Baillie (prefixed to the De Interpretatione). 

2. Baillie, Letters and Journals. 

3. MS. Life, by Wodrow, among the Wodrow MSS. in 

Glasgow University. 

4. A Large Declaration. By the King. 1639. [Really 

drafted by Dr. Balcanquall.] 

5. Account of Glasgow University, Edited by William 

Stewart, D.D. 1891. 

6. Crichton, Memoirs of Rev. John Blackader. 1826. 

7. Scott, Fasti Eccl. Scot., in loco. 

8. Dempster, Historia Ecclesiastica. 

9. Coutts, Hist, of the Univ. of Glasgow, 1909. 

10. The Progresses of King James VI. 

1 1. The Muses' Welcome to the High and Mightie Prince, 

James, . . . 161 7. 

12. Munimenta Almae Univ. Glasguensis. 

13. Larousse, Diet. Universel, 1873. 


14. Steven, Scottish Church, Rotterdam, 1833. 

15. Old and New Statistical Account. 

16. Haag, La France Protestante. 

17. Bellesheim, History of the Catholic Church of Scotland, 

1887 (translation). 

18. Spottiswood, History, from 203-1625. 3 vols. ed. by 

Rev. M. Russell. 1851. 

19. Bower, History of the University of Edinburgh. 2 vols, 


20. Spalding, Memorials of the Troubles. 2 vols. Spalding 

Club, 1850. 

21. Diet, of Nat. Biography, for Strang, Balcanquall, and 


22. Calderwood, History. 

23. Keith, Catalogue of Scottish Bishops. 

24. Thomson (J. Pringle), Alexander Henderson the 

Covenanter, 191 2. 


Adamson, Bishop Patrick, 6i, 

62, 64. 
Amyraut or Amyraldus, 134, 

179, 186, 247. 
Arbuthnot, loi. 
Aristotle, 11, 13, 14. 
Assembly of Aberdeen, 66, 

of Perth, 144. 

Glasgow, 272. 
Avocats, Incident of the, 191. 

Bachelor, " Determining," 5 ; 

baccalaureus confirmatus, 9. 
Bachelor of Divinity, 9. 
BailUe, Robert, 59, 137, 269. 
Balcanquall, Dean of Durham, 

275 sqq. 
Baldovy, i, 26. 
Bancroft, Archbp., 69, 145. 
Basilicon Doron, 66. 
Baton, 3, 231. 
Bayle, 230. 
Bellesheim, 255. 
Beza, 17, 19, 20, 177. 
Bible in schools, 4. 
Blair, Robert, 141, 214 sqq. 
Bonnefoy, 19. 
Bordeaux, 173, 178 sqq. 
Boyd, Archbp. James, 44. 

Boyd, Robert (1578-1627) — 
birth and education, 115 : 
goes to France, 117 : regent 
atMontauban, 1 18-125 • his 
counsels to students, 119 : 
pastor at Verteuil, 125 : 
professor at Saumur, 128- 
137 : revisits Scotland, 129, 
131 : his marriage, 132 : 
succeeds Patrick Sharp, 
135 : his work in Glasgow, 
I37"i54 • his difficulties 
with the Archbishop, 144 : 
attempt to recall him to 
Saumur, 145 ; troubles from 
Five Articles of Perth, 146 : 
he resigns, 148 : not a 
success in Glasgow, 153 : 
appointed to Edinburgh, 
155 : but dismissed, 158 : 
efiorts to recall him to 
Glasgow, 159 : he agrees to 
conform, 161 : but the 
scheme fails, 162 : accepts 
Paisley Abbey, 164 : but 
is forced to withdraw, 166 : 
is seized by cancer in the 
throat, and dies, 166 : his 
character, 167 : Works, 
168 : Bibliography, 16 



Boyd, Zachary, 132, 253, 267. 
Bruce, Robert, 117, 144. 
Buchanan, George, 19, 30, 32. 
Burnet, Bishop, 59, 172. 
Bursars, 43. 

Calvin, 14, 20, 47. 

Cameron, John (1579-1625) 
— ^bom in Saltmarket, 170 : 
a college servitor, 171 : 
eminence in Greek, 171 : 
extravagant habits, 172 : 
regent under P. Sharp, 172 : 
goes to Bordeaux, 173 : 
regent in Bergerac, 173 : at 
Sedan, 173 : bursar of Bor- 
deaux church, 174 : studies 
at Geneva and Heidelberg, 
174 : his theses on Three- 
fold Covenant, 175 : severe 
critic of Beza, 176 : rela- 
tions with Tilenus, Melville, 
and Schultetus of Heidel- 
berg, 177 : pastor at Bor- 
deaux, 178-200 : an eccen- 
tric preacher, 179 : corre- 
spondence with Louis 
Cappel, 180-185 ■ fi^'st mar- 
riage, 186 : the Piscator 
controversy, 187 : required 
to sign Formula of Privas, 
188 : attacks Church of 
Rome, 191 : incident of the 
Avocats, 191 : his Steliteu- 
ticus, 193 : incident of the 
Privateers, 196 : his trea- 
tise de praejudiciis Ro- 
manis, 198 : appointed to 
Saumur, 200 : treatise de 
Ecclesia, 205 ; de Verbo 

Dei, 206 : disputation with 
Tilenus, 206-210 : goes to 
London, thence to Glas- 
gow, 211 : his Letter to 
King James VI., 212 : un- 
easy in Glasgow, 213 : 
quarrel with Robert Blair, 
215 : his monarchical poUcy, 
217 : returns to London, 
220 : correspondence with 
Reid, 220-224 • returns to 
France, 225 : at Synod of 
Charenton, 225 : attack on 
his views by Episcopius, 
227 : appointed to Mon- 
tauban, 227 : second mar- 
riage, 229 : death, 229-233 : 
character, ^ 233-236 : por- 
trait, 236 : Dumoulin on 
Cameron, 237 : La Mille- 
tidre on Cameron, 238 : La 
Milletidre and reunion with 
Rome, 240 : eminence of 
Cameron in the Ref. Church, 
244 : his alleged leanings 
to Rome, 246 : his place 
in theological controversy, 
248 : compared with Mel- 
ville, 248 : Works, 248, 9 : 
Bibliography, 250, i. See 
also pp. 76, 145, 154. 

Campbell, Bishop of Brechin, 

Capellus, 76, 180 sqq., 186. 

Casuistry, 17, 138. 

Charenton, Synod of, 225, 

Church, the true, 91 sqq. : 
Visible and Invisible, 113. 

Clerical dress, 109. 



Coligny, Admiral, 15. 

CoUace, William, 27. 

Commission, High, 66, 107, 

Common Table, 266, 294. 

Conimbricenses, 121. 

Contestation for Divinity 
Chair, 200. 

Corporal pimishment of stu- 
dents, 140, 148, 157. 

Curcellaeus (de Courcelles), 

Davidson, John, 30, 33. 

Dempster, 97. 

Dickson, David, 114, 137, 142, 

Dictates (dictation of lec- 
tures), 13. 

Disputations, 123, 138. 

Doctor of Divinity, 9 : Doctor 
or Teacher, 30 : D.D., 31, 

Dort, Synod of, 78, 144. 
Douglas, Archbp., 7, 23, 64. 
Dumoulin, 78, 188, 190, 237. 
Duplessis Momay, 127. 
Durham, James, 281, 289. 

Elzevirs, 129. 
Epigram, Melville's, 67. 
Episcopacy, 54, 56, 57, 60, 62, 

Episcopius, 227. 
Epitaphs on Queen Mary, 53. 
Enrol, Earl of, 255 sqq. 
Exercise, The weekly, 46. 

General Assembly dinners, 


Geneva, 10, 11, 17. 
Glasgow Cathedral, 100 : 

Town Council, 33. 
Golf, 3. 
Gomarus, 177. 
Go van, 38. 
Greek, 18, 131. 

Hamilton, Archbp., 5. 

Hamilton, Archibald, 86, 91, 

Hampton Court conference, 
66 sqq., 107. 

Hay, Andrew, parson of Ren- 
frew, 33, 51, 98. 

Hay, Edmund, 84, 85. 

Hebdomader, 47. 

Heidelberg, 176. 

Herminians {for Arminians), 

Host, Procession of the, 25. 

Hottoman (Hotman), 18, 20. 

Howieson, John, 100. 

Huguenots, 15. 

Hyperius, 97. 

James VI., 12, 31, 162, 190, 

211, 259. 
Januarius, 216. 
Jesuits' College, 25, 97. 
Johnston, Arthur, 53. 

Knox, John, 19, 105. 

Laing, David, 86. 
Languet, H., 20. 
Large Declaration, 275. 
Laud, 279. 

Law, Archbp., 150 sqq., 160, 



" Lay " elders, 275. 

Lee, Principal, 6, 65. 

Library of Glasgow Univer- 
sity, 51. 

Loci communes, 36. 

Lombard, Peter, 8. 

Lord's Prayer in Latin verse, 

Louvain, 10. 

Maitland, Thomas, 97. 

Marriages of regents, 34. 

Marsiliers, Pierre de, 5. 

M'Crie, Dr. Thos., 30, 34, 77. 

Mellon, M. Paul, 73 sqq. 

Melville, Andrew (1545-1622) 
— ^birth, parentage, and 
education, 1-14 ; regent at 
Poitiers, 15 : studied at 
Geneva, 19 : summoned to 
Scotland, 21 : called to 
Glasgow, 30 : his method, 
34 : the Nova Erectio, 37- 
44 : his Latin verse, 52, 67, 
102 : translated to St. 
Andrews, 55 : enters on 
contest with Episcopacy, 
56 : his teaching at St. 
Andrews, 58 : first exile, 
62 : ten years' favour, 63 : 
ten years' conflict, 65 ; ex- 
iled to Sedan, 68 : relations 
with Tilenus, 75 : ill-health, 
79: death, 80: Works and 
Bibliography, 80-82. 

Melville, James, min. of Ar- 
broath, 2. 

Melville, James, nephew of 
Andrew Melville, 3, 21, 
27-29, 68, 72. 

Melville, John, min. of Crail, 

2, 31- 

Melville, Richard, of Baldovy, 

Melville, Richard, min. of 
Mary ton, 2. 

Mestrezat, 298. 

Methodists, New (or Cameron- 
ites), 186. 

Milletidre, La, 177, 239 sqqj 

Milton on Cameron, 246. 

Moderator of Assembly, cho- 
sen by leet, 104 : of Pres- 
bytery, 109. 

Moncrieff, Gilbert, 32, 84. 

Montauban, 117, 118 sqq., 

Montgomery, Archbp. Robert, 
98, 99- 

Morton, Earl of, 26. 

Moore, Alexander, 298. 

Myrothecium, 245. 

Nicholas V., Pope, 33. 
Niddrie, his school-books, 4. 
Nova Erectio, 37 sqq., 139. 

Ogilvy, Father, 142. 
Ordination, 48, 125 sqq. 
Orthodoxa Responsio, 86 sqq. 

Paisley, 164 sqq. 

Perth Assembly, 65 : Articles 

of Perth, 146, 158. 
Hrates (privateers), 196. 
Piscator, 187 sqq., 203. 
Placaeus, 186. 
Poitiers, 14, 117. 
Polwarth, Andrew, 22, 24, '86, 




Prayer, Boyd's Class-prayer, 

119: Cameron's, 218. 
Primrose, Gilbert, 178. 
Privas, Synod of, 186. 
Psalm tunes, 4. 
Puritans, 132. 

Raleigh, Sir Walter, 70. 
Ramus, Peter, 11, 12, 13, 14. 
Rector Magnificus, 130. 
Regent, 7, 8 : " regenting," 

Rivet, Andrew, 114, 117. 
Rivet, William, 171, 221. 
Rochelle, Synod of, 127. 
RoUock, Robert, 116. 

Sacraments, 113. 

St. Andrews : St. Mary's Coll., 
5. 30. 55. 58. 62 : St. 
Leonard's, 17, 27 : St. 
Salvator's, 83. 

Salaries of professors, 42. 

Saltmarket, 170. 

Santangelus, 192 sqq. 

Saumur, 76, 128 sqq., 145. 

Schultetus, 176. 

Scot, William, 66, 69. 

Scots College, Paris, 84. 

Scots tongue forbidden in 
College, 291. 

Scrimger, Henry, 18, 21. 

Sedan, 57, 68, 73 : Calvinism 
at, 77. 

Sharp, James, Archbp., 13, 24. 

Sharp, Patrick ( ? 1615) — 
master of Grammar School, 
Glasgow, 106 : member of 
High Commission, 107 : at 
Hampton Court, 107 sqq. : 

a " courtier," 108 : Con- 
stant Moderator, 109 : at 
Falkland Conference, 109 : 
condemned by Royal Com- 
mission, 109 : his Short 
Explication of the Christian 
Faith, 110-113 : his distin- 
guished pupils, 114. See 
also pp. 44, 48, 134. 

Seminary, Melville's Anti- 
Roman, 103. 

Sibbald, Dr., 263. 

Smeaton, Thomas (1536-1583) 
— ^birth and education, 83 : 
friendship with Melville, 
Thomas Maitland, and 
Gilbert Moncrieff, 84 : 
at Jesuit College, Paris, 
84, 85 : min. of Paisley 
Abbey, 86 : he answers 
Hamilton, 87 : Hamilton's 
rejoinder, 96, 97 : trans- 
lates treatise on Preach- 
ing into Scots, 98 : elected 
to Glasgow College, 98 : 
struggle with Montgomery, 
99 : character, loi : Mel- 
ville's tribute, 102 : mar- 
riage, 103 : works, etc., 
105 : his account of Knox's 
deathbed, 105. 

Socinus, 185. 

Spottiswood, 142, 157, 289. 

Steliteuticus, 171, 193- 

Stephaniskion, 63. 

Stephens, Henry, 51. 

Strang, John (1584-1654) — 
birth and education, 252- 
254 : regent at St. Leo- 
nard's, St. Andrews, 254 : 



min. of Errol, 255-262 : 
influence against Roman- 
ism, 256 : made a D.D., 
257 : his disputation before 
King James VI., 259 : 
appointed on High Com- 
mission, 260 : called to 
Edinburgh, 261 : app. to 
Glasgow, 262 : true story 
of this appointment, 263 : 
work as professor, 263- 
266 : a poor preacher, 265 : 
work as principal, 267 : 
two additional professors 
appointed, 268 : subdivi- 
sion of Divinity teaching, 
268, 9 : principal relieved 
of Divinity lectures, 270 : 
suspicion of heresy, 271 : 
intrigue with High Com- 
missioner, 275 : with Bal- 
canquall, 277, 8 : men- 
tioned in a letter to Laud, 
279 : his anonymous 
" treatise," 280-282 : in- 
trigue discovered, 282 : 
committee of Assembly to 
examine his lectures, 284 : 
he is exonerated, 286, 7 ; 
resigns, 289 : his activities 
as principal, 290-294 : last 
years, 295 : character by 

BailUe, 296 : posthumous 
works, 297 : bibhography, 
301, 2. See also p. 159. 
Students, Foreign, 58, 59 : 
Rules for students, 119 
sqq. : Scots students at 
Montauban, 123 : scarcity 
of Divinity students, 292. 

TertuUian on Apost. Succes- 
sion, 94. 

Testard, 186. 

Tilenus, Daniel, 74 sqq. : 133, 
177, 206 sqq., 211. 

Tonneins, Synod of, 188 sqq. 

Trilingual teaching at Scots 
schools, 4 : at Paris, 10. 

Tulchan bishops, 22, 23. 

Urquhart, Sir Thomas, 244. 

Verteuil, 125 sqq. 
Virgin Birth, 113. 

Wemyss, David, 44, 98. 
Wodrow, 210, 224. 

Young, Alexander, 21. 
Young, John, Dean of Win- 
chester, 144, 258. 
Young, Peter, 30, 32. 


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